Assessment of the current provision of psychological support to older people with sight loss

Authors: Nyman, S.R., Gosney, M.A. and Victor, C.R.

Conference: BSG 2008: 37th Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology: Sustainable futures in an ageing world

Dates: 6-9 September 2008


It is estimated that 2 million people in the UK are afflicted with significant sight loss, with 94% of these aged 65+ (RNIB, 2008). In a recent review, the emotional impact of adjusting to sight loss in later life was found to be associated with depression, reduced quality of life, and poorer social functioning (Nyman, Gosney, & Victor, 2008). Whilst a survey found the UK to be patchy in its provision of practical support to people with sight loss (Culham et al., 2002), little is known about the current provision of emotional support to older people with sight loss. We conducted a scoping survey on the provision of counselling to older people with sight loss, to establish what support is available and its evidence-base.

We furthered a previous survey conducted by Rees (2006) and contacted 17 organisations registered with the National Association of Local Societies for Visually Impaired People (NALSVI) and whom Rees identified as providing formal counselling. Of these services 13 were in operation, three of which were telephone-based and so nationally available. No organisation could cite quality published evidence upon which their service was based, and there is yet any quality evidence for the efficacy of any of the services. Independently conducted randomised controlled trials are recommended to establish whether existing services are beneficial to older people with sight loss, cost-effective, and more efficacious than the more widely available informal forms of emotional support.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Samuel Nyman