Staying in employment
If you are experiencing sight loss in work, it is important to know that you are not alone, many individuals experience sight loss to some degree and in many different roles and professions. Some individuals who are already working may question whether or how they might continue in their present jobs. The initial stages of vision loss can be extremely difficult especially if you enjoy your work and don’t want to give it up or are concerned that your job may be in jeopardy.
Keep in mind that it is often much easier to adapt your current work situation while employed rather than trying to re-enter the workforce. Do not make any fast decisions and assume that vision loss means job loss.
Remember that the individuals you work with, including your employer, may have limited experience with, or knowledge about, vision loss and low vision. It is likely they will require your help to better understand your specific visual needs our Employment Service can assist in preparation for discussions with your HR department, occupational doctor, line mangers etc
If you’re having problems reading or writing, a low vision device, such as a magnifier or a CCTV/video magnifier may help.
- It is important to assess your job to determine if there are any duties you believe you can no longer perform; for example, do you need to drive a vehicle, move equipment, or handle potentially dangerous or hazardous items? Assess the “essential functions” of your job in a step-by-step way, and consider how each problem or barrier can be resolved again with the assistance of NCBI.
- Citizens Information also has some useful information.
Job retention steps
Initially, it is not likely you will have the answers to all of your questions—so be sure to seek assistance from our Employment Service and encourage your employers/HR to also seek assistance from NCBI in understanding some of the steps that may need to be undertaken.
For example, if your job involves computer work and you have problems seeing the screen, an NCBI technology trainer can conduct an assistive technology assessment to introduce you to the different types of software that may allow you to access information and continue working independently. Your employer may be willing to provide funding for any adaptive equipment that may be required to do your job. The Reasonable Accommodation Scheme has a range of grants that are available to an employer in the private sector.
If you are having difficulties getting to and from work or moving around your job site, you will need to seek advice on how to address these issues from a mobility trainer. An NCBI mobility trainer can offer advice in order to orient yourself within the workplace and travel independently to and from your place of work.
To find out more about our employment service, please contact Denis Daly at [email protected] or call 01 830 7033.