Supporting and guiding someone with sight loss


  • Always verbally introduce yourself and speak directly to the person.
  • When speaking to someone always use their name (if known).
  • If you don’t know their name it can be helpful to say, "Hello I am …. Can I help you with anything"?
  • Speak and avoid relying on non-verbal gestures such as pointing or nodding/shaking your head.
  • Don’t be scared to offer help if you think the person might want assistance if you are unsure just ask them.
  • Give the person a little extra time to respond.
  • Always tell the person if you are going to leave them alone.
  • Always tell the person if you are going to hand them over to someone else.

Verbal guiding

  • Ask the person if they would like to be guided and follow their preferences.
  • If support is required, ask the person if they want you to walk in front, side, or back of them.
  • Provide the person with clear verbal instruction, describing the route you are taking, and avoiding all obstacles.
  • Go at the person's pace and give enough time to warn of changes in direction or potential obstacles.
  • Tell the person what you are doing and explain each step especially if it involves physical contact.
  • Follow these tips for people arriving at or leaving the vaccination site.

Additional information

For further information on supporting someone with sight loss you can contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected]

RNIB's website also provides lots of useful information

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Page last reviewed: 06 November 2023