Frequently Asked Questions

Client Services

How can I be registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired?

You will first need to speak to your optician or GP who will do an initial assessment of your vision. If they think it is appropriate, they will make a referral to the Eye Department at St. Mary’s Hospital, Newport for an appointment. At the Eye Department you would be seen by an ophthalmologist, who will test your vision and check the general health of your eyes (these will be a series of tests to assess your field of vision and how much detail you may be able to see). If the eye specialist thinks that you meet the criteria to be registered, they will fill out what is known as a CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment) with the details and results of your tests. You will receive a copy of your certificate and will be contacted by the Isle of Wight Council Sensory Support Team, who will be able to offer support and advice and sometimes, if appropriate, equipment to help you. You will also be offered the chance to be added to the Sight Loss Register for the Island. You will then be registered. If you decide not to go on the register, you may still be able to access help and support from the Council and Sensory support Team.


How do I obtain a blue badge?

If you are registered as severely Sight Impaired you are automatically entitled to a Blue Badge. If you are registered as sight impaired then you are not entitled to a Blue Badge; however, you may be able to apply through the council to get a blue badge if you meet the criteria.

For more information please follow the link:


Are you part of the RNIB?

No, we are a local independent charity; however, we do work with other organisations in different ways and will sometimes signpost people to other organisations if we feel they may be of help.

Please follow the link to find out more about IWSB:


How do I join IWSB groups or activities?

If you are interested in joining any of the activities within IWSB, please get in touch by phone or email, and we will be happy to give you more information on joining the groups. For a brief description on the activities at or organised by Millbrooke House please follow the link:


How do I get a white stick?

There are different types of canes available to help people with a visual impairment:  

  • A symbol cane is used to show others that you have a visual impairment. 
  • A guide cane is used to find obstacles in front of you. It can also be used to find steps and also gauge the depth of steps or kerbs.  
  • Long canes are used to sweep or tap side to side to help find the way and to help find obstacles in the path.

To find out more about canes and mobility you will need to speak to the Isle of Wight Council Sensory Support Service, who can be contacted on 01983 529533.


Am I entitled to any benefits as a visually impaired person?

There are certain benefits that may be available to visually impaired people; however, it would be appropriate to speak to the Local Authority or the Sensory Support Service for advice.

For more information please follow the link to the RNIB website where they have some more information available:


Can visual impairment be assessed at home?

To arrange a home assessment for a visually impaired person, you would need to contact the Sensory Support Team on 01983 529533. As the statutory service provider they are the people who are able to carry out home assessments which may include looking at things like lighting, mobility and other things that may help to keep a visually impaired person independently functioning at home.


Do you have any talking books?

We are very lucky to have a large selection of audio books in our audio library.

To find out more information about joining and also about the Society’s Talking News Service, please follow the link:


What can IWSB volunteer home visitors assist with?

The Society has a small team of volunteers who might be able to assist with occasional requests for support in the home.   The role of the volunteer home visitor is to support a client with small tasks within their home to enable the person to maintain and promote their independence.  Such support may include arranging appointments, reading mail, general reading, form filling (other than statutory forms), fashion colour matching, small sewing tasks, changing batteries, watering plants.  Occasional short social outings for coffee or joint visits to local shops may be helpful and promote socialisation. To enquire further about IWSB volunteer home visitors please contact the Society on 01983 522205.


What are IWSB volunteer home visitors unable to assist with?

Please note that personal and domestic care, meal preparation and administering medication are not services IWSB is able to provide.

Formal assessment of needs and recommendations for aids to support independence in the home are provided by the Isle of Wight Council Sensory Support Team (01983 529533).