10 January, 2023 12:44

the numbers game

Sight loss is a growing menace affecting millions of people, both worldwide and here in the U.K. we are told that, here at least, up to two thirds is avoidable. Certain statistics are accepted as a given and the main ones are:

Over 2.5 million people have a degree of sight loss sufficient to make an impact on their daily lives. This is set to rise to 4.0 million by 2030.

Of these approximately 350 thousand are registered as partially sighted or blind.

Of those 42% are registered blind

Of those 5%are fully blind.

These figures are those that are generally accepted and thus provide a basis for planning and allocation of resources.

Unfortunately there are some problems with the figures.

Firstly the information for Scotland is thirteen years out of date

Secondly the information for the U.K. is six years out of date f

thirdly not all people receiving a Certificate of Visual Impairment go onto the register

fourthly not everyone who needs one has a Certificate of Visual Impairment

fifthly we have no idea how the pandemic has affected the figures.

The Certificate of Visual Impairment or CVI is the royal road to support, benefits, training and protection through registration. Unfortunately many people are not given access to theis road and, through poor information, do not step upon it.this has a profound upon our understanding of the numbers of people with sight loss.

If we take the basic figure of 355, 000 people on the register then we can make the following


Only 49% of people who need them have a CVI [1]. Assuming that there is a proportionate take up of registration then there should be at least 750,000 on the register.

We also know that possibly only 50% of people go onto be registered [2].

If everybody who should have a CVI registered then there would be 1.4 million on the register.

The ratio between those with sight loss and those on the register is roughly seven to one. If this ratio remains constant then the number of people in the UK with a degree of sight loss sufficient to impact their lives is 9.8 million people or roughly 12.5% of the population.

This is of course nonsense as we are informed it is onlu 2.5 million. Or is it?

The real question is what the real figures and what are the implications for the economy, the welfare bill, mental health and the NHS?


1 Agreement between ophthalmologists and

optometrists in the certification of vision impairment – Rebecca Bartlett, Hywel Jones,

Gwyn Williams, Daniel Farewell &

Jennifer H. Acton -Eye




433–440 (2021)

2 reflections on the CVI by the charity partnership – 2022


talking smart meter display

Thanks, Simon, though I think that data protection is a bit of a stretch.

Am I right in thinking that some Smart phones have a facility for reading displays aloud once you have taken a picture? I’ve never tried it.

There is also “Be-My-Eyes” application.

But, I agree that talking Smart meters should be fitted as standard – lots of meters are in places where it is difficult to see, if one can.

Best wishes,


Tel: +44 (0)1329 841814


From: simon mahoney <simonmahoney3@hotmail.co.uk>
Sent: 05 October 2022 1459
To: updateblog@wingingitblind.com
Subject: talking smart meter displayd

For many of us the energy

Crisis has passed the point

Where it is a joke.

The main tool we have to

Control our use of energy

Is the smart meter.

Unfortunately this is , for many

Of us, inaccessible as we cannot

Read the information.

This means we have to ask

A third party to read our display,

But only when they are available.

This is a clear breach

Of Data Protection.

It is also contrary to the

Equality Act 2010.

This Act can apply to many things and its basic premise is as follows

“any entity providing goods and services must take reasonable steps

To ensure that those goods and services

Are available to all,

Regardless of disability”

I am happy to report that

There are now available smart meter

Displays with text to speech. In other words

They talk.

You can find details on

The RNIB web site.

I have requested that my energy supplier provide me

With one. They have done this

As is my right and their duty.

After some initial connection

Issues [none of us knew what the

Hell we were doing!]. the patience

Of Job and unfailing courtesy on both

Sides it is now connected.

It is child’s play to use.

The best feature is that

It is easy to turn the speech on and off!

You now have the information and the relevant Act to quote.

Get cracking!

Yours aye



Yet again it has been too long.

In dispute with my utility company.

Who isn’t?

For two and half years I have

Been requesting they give me,

As a blind person, a smart

Meter display I can use.

I am now requesting compensation for

Having to share my energy information

With a third party [data protection act] and not

Having access to a service they

Provide [Equality Act 2010]

The EQUALITY ACT is an interesting one.

It states specifically

“any entity providing goods and services must ensure they take

reasonable steps to Ensure that those goods

and services are accessible to all

REGARDLESS of disability.”

This applies to everything.

In a time when monitoring our energy use

as never beforeit is important that

that we can read our own meters.

The RNIB have a page on smart m which is worth

A look. We are all entitled to ask

Our suppliers for an accessible metereters


From: simon mahoney [mailto:simonmahoney3@hotmail.co.uk]
Sent: 23 August 2022 10:22
To: rosemaryahandley@hotmail.com
Subject: books

Good morning Rosemary

Thank you for your kind comments. I often get the feeling that as regards sightloss awareness I am pushing water uphill with a break!

A descent intodarkness was written with general life changing and particularly blindness in mind. I feel that your grandson would find it helpful.

The book can be found on kindle. A Kindle fire has the capacity to convert text to speech. You can also link the kindle to Alexa or Sirrie. If he does not have a kindle you can use a kindle ap on a tablet. Other options may also exist.

Additionally the book is on the Calibre audio library. RNIB were not interested.

Another book he may find helpful is First catch your rabbit.

This has 39 recipes in it but it is primarily a how to cook when totally blind without killing yourself. I wrote it after my wife died and I had to get a grip on the kitchen.

Additionally this book is on the RNIB audio library.

If your grandson has acccesss to a computer he may find the films I did on Henshawes of interest.

Reference cooking if he can access BBC sounds I was on the food programme the march before last and the Food Chain on the world service on 7th May the same year.

I do hope this is useful and I wish your grandson all the luck in the world. On that note he will quickly learn you have to make your own luck. It is important that he continually tries to change what he thinks is possible.

I would ask one favour in return

I am doing some research of my own at the moment. Could let me know two things


When did your grandson get his certificate of visual impairment


Was it offered or did he have to ask for it.

Yours aye

Simon Mahoney MA

Blind Veteran and Author


Web site www.wingingitblind.com


I have recently embarked on

A project to discover more about

Certificates of Visual Impairment.

I have been asking people two

Simple questions.


When did you get your certificate?


Did you have to ask for it or was

It offered?

I have collected quite a lot of

Information so far. However, the more I have

The more I have the better.

Can you help?

Contact me via the web site or pleas

eE mail me on



Baked salmon


To create a quick, tasty and slightly indulgent meal


As always check your immediate area for hazards

Lazy person principle

Gather all ingredients and equipment together

so that you can stay in one place whilst constructing your meal


Ingredients – Aldi salmon fillet, castello Spanish soft blue cheese, olive oil, green beans, celeriac, watercress,

Greek basil and chili garlic salt.

Equipment – oven pan, medium saucepan, foil, sharp knife, bowl for rubbish, small dish for oil,

eating plate, half-filled kettle and cooking basket


Ensure the work top is clear and clean.

Ensure chopping board and tray are at the work station

Place ingredients to the right of the tray

Place equipment to the left of the tray

Ensure there is hot water available

with a clean towel.

Place bowl for rubbish within reach.

Plug the kettle in within easy reach


skin celeriac,

Cut some into chips and put the rest aside.

Put chips into a saucepan, cover and put onto boil.

Turn the oven on for 170 C or gas mark 3.

Take oven dish and place a sheet of foil ,

big enough to wrap the fish,

in the bottom

Place fish, skin side down, on the foil.

Put a handful of fresh Greek basil on the fish.

Place thin layers of cheese over the herbs.

Wrap the whole in the foil.

Ensure the celeriac is boiling,

reduce to simmer for five minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave for five minutes [power saving]

By now the oven should be up to heat.

Remove the celeriac

Put a little oil in the dish and season with garlic and chili salt.

Roll the chips in the oil and place in the oven dish.

Place the oven dish ,with the foil

wrapped fish and celeriac chips,

on a middle shelf in the oven.

keep the oven at 170 C or gas mark 3 for

fifteen minutes and then turn off the power.

Do not remove the fish and chips [power saving]

In the meantime prepare the green beans by topping and if necessary tailing.

Place in the cooking basket.

Place in medium saucepan, cover the

beans with boiling water from

the kettle and put on the

hob to simmer. After five minutes turn off the

heat and leave beans in the water.[power saving]

Put the plate on the chopping board.

Put a handful of water cress on the plate.

Remove the basket of beans from the water, allow to drain fully and then tip onto the plate

Remove the fish and celeriac from the oven

This should be when the fish has been in the oven for a total

Of 30 minutes.

Carefully put the chips on the plate

Remove the foil and place the fish on the plate.

Grab a knife and fork and a glass of wine and eat.


Total preparation time about 40 minutes. Be sure to time the beans so that they start about ten minutes before the fish comes out.

Simple and very tasty and not over expensive.

6 July, 2022 13:48

I am very lucky.

I live in a delightful little Market town

At the foot of the pennines.

It has a lovely little stream running

Through it, rarely more than ten foot across.

It is swarming with fish and

Other wildlife and in its

Upper reaches you can

Find otters.

In the summer many of

The local kids play in it.

It runs a hundred yards from my

House and it is a general delight.

The news that Severn Trent chose to discharge 125 tons of raw sewage into this beautiful stream onlu a few miles upstream from the town was a little surprising.

It is so good to know that those

Who know better than us are so aware of our general welfare.

Well done Severn Trent.

help please

CVI AND CSSI/B in England

The Certificate of Visual Impairment

is Certainly Very Important to

anyone who has significant sight loss.

It would appear that many people with a significant

degree of visual impairment are totally

unaware of it. Even more worrying

it appears that not all ophthalmologists are

aware of them. Those who know

about the CVI do not seem to appreciate

how important it is for their patients.

The CVI is the royal road to registration and the subsequent support, and protections.it literally puts you on the map as far as the sight loss world is concerned.

Curiously , some people have been known to

refuse a certificate.

Up to 12% of certificate holders have

not gone on to register as sight impaired or

severely sight impaired/blind.

In addition to this there is one estimate that

only 49% of patients who qualify for a CVI actually

have them.

This is a shocking state of

affairs and the implications for

the sight loss support sector are


If we look at the role of the CVI and the rationale

behind it, then the grounds for dismay

are even more firmly rooted.

From the guidelines to ophthalmologists and

eye clinic staff published in 2017.

Purpose of the CVI form

1. The CVI formally certifies someone as sight impaired (previously referred to as partially

sighted) or as severely sight impaired (previously referred to as blind). With the

permission of the patient the CVI is shared so that their local authority or an organisation

working on their behalf, is able to make contact to offer and explain the benefits of

registration on a local sight register and to ensure support and services are accessible as

appropriate. 2. Sight loss can have a significant impact on a person’s independence and wellbeing. If the

person is not known to social services as someone with needs arising from their sight

impairment, the CVI acts as a formal referral for a needs assessment. Consequently, the

CVI should be seen as a significant step on the sight loss pathway, enabling people to

access support to help them retain or regain independence. Certification should therefore

not be seen as the end of the treatment journey for patients but as a gateway to support

and services.

3. On receipt of a CVI, in addition to providing an assessment of the patient’s social care

needs, the local authority or an organisation working on their behalf should also contact

the patient to offer and explain the benefits of registration. Registration is voluntary, and

whilst it is essential to obtain some benefits and concessions, it is not a prerequisite for

accessing support from social services.

4. Hospital clinic staff should explain the importance of certification and the sharing of

information with their local authority, their GP and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Certifications Office at Moorfields Eye Hospital. If the patient still does not consent to

sharing information they should be made aware they may miss out on valuable support

and information.

5. Completing and sending off the CVI in a timely manner is not only beneficial for the

patient but will enable community health and social care agencies to plan appropriate

services as part of local strategies such as falls prevention or loneliness and isolation.

6. If the patient has also provided consent to share the CVI form with the Certifications

Office at Moorfields Eye Hospital, the CVI will be used to record diagnostic and other

data that is used for epidemiological analysis and reported via an NHS England Public health indicators.

it is clear that the intentions

are there but the execution is on the whole poor.

Over the years I have met many

people who knew nothing about

the CVI or if they did had

to insist on one being issued.

I am currently carrying out a survey

to try and get an indication as to whether

this is typical or not. The data

so far indicates that the majority

of people have to ask and that on the whole consultants

are not very pro-active in offering the


I would be very grateful if anyone who reads this could help me collect the data.

If you , or anybody you know, has a CVI could you please provide two bits of information.


The year the certificate was issued


Whether the certificate was offered or had to be asked for.

Please contact me on simon@wingingitblind.com


I have been gently admonished

For not explaining what a CVI is.

It appears it is not just the

Consultants who do not explain anything!

The CVI or Certificate of Visual Impairment

Is the bit of paper that the hospital gives you

When your sight deteriorates to a certain point. This

Will enable you to register with

the Local council as sight impaired or severely sight impaired/ blind.

Registration is optional. Before refusing to register take advice.

It is the road to support, benefits and protection.

If you do not have a certificate

And you cannot see faces clearly or you can

Only read with the Help of a magnifier


Whether you need to be given a CVI.

So far all my research indicates that more

Often than not you

Have to ask or insist.

This is something you

must find out about.

If you search for guidance

on issuing CVI you will find a

very interesting document.