Tayside and Central Scotland

Ninewells support centre aids blind and partially sighted people

Ninewells Hospital (pic courtesy of Val Vannet)
Image caption NHS Tayside has provided refurbished space within the ophthalmology department of Ninewells Hospital

A new centre to help blind and partially sighted people in Tayside officially opens later.

The centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee aims to helps people come to terms with their sight loss.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland has established The Vision Support Service, which is funded by the Scottish Government.

The centre offers information and advice on a range of aids and services to help people maintain independence.

Almost 188,000 people in Scotland already live with a sight loss that seriously affects their daily lives, and this figure is projected to double by 2031, according to RNIB Scotland.

Service-user Betty Harris, from Dundee, said: "I've found the service very friendly and reassuring.

"Nothing seems to be too much trouble for them."

'Devastating impact'

Alex McGurk, 77, from Blackness, said: "It's a tremendous service and the people running it are absolutely first rate.

"I heard from other people who had more experience of sight loss and I was able to ask a lot of questions about what help was available."

The service has been established in partnership with NHS Tayside, which has provided refurbished space within the ophthalmology department of Ninewells Hospital.

John Legg, director of RNIB Scotland, said: "Every day in Scotland, 10 people begin to lose their sight.

"But only a tiny percentage are offered support and counselling, despite the devastating impact sight loss can have on people's lives."

He added: "That's why RNIB Scotland is working to establish a network of Vision Support Services in each health board area where none exist at present.

"These will offer newly diagnosed people the support they need to coming terms with sight loss and can also refer them on to other services available to them."

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