Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of health and social care professionals you will meet following a sight loss diagnosis who will be able to support you in different ways.



Optometrists are trained to spot signs and symptoms of eye diseases, test eyesight and detect other health issues such as diabetes through eye examinations. If an optometrist feels further assessment is needed, they can make referrals onto eye clinics and hospitals. An optometrist can assess for and prescribe suitable corrective lenses. They can also offer advice on suitable vision aids. Optometrists work in branches in the community; sometimes they may carry out eye examinations via home visits or visits to community centres.


Dispensing Optician

Most often based in optician branches, dispensing opticians advise people on glasses and lenses to best suit their needs. They are able to follow optometrist and ophthalmologist prescriptions to then also fit and supply glasses. They can also provide advice on low vision aids.



Ophthalmologists are medically qualified doctors/surgeons and are based in hospital eye departments or eye hospitals. They are specialists in eye diseases and eye trauma, and they can conduct eye surgery. Your ophthalmologist can carry out examinations and assessments to diagnose and monitor eye conditions and vision. They advise on and prescribe suitable treatment such as medication and/or surgery and can complete your registration as sight impaired or severely sight impaired.


Ophthalmic Medical Practitioner (OMP)

You could also be seen by an OMP. An OMP is also a medically trained doctor, specialising in eye care, who can also carry out eye examinations to assess for problems with eye health and eyesight. Like an optician, they can assess for and prescribe suitable corrective lenses.


Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) or Patient Support Service

An ECLO or Patient Support Service can be based at a hospital ophthalmology clinic or with local social services to support patients who have been newly diagnosed with sight loss. In early stages of a sight loss diagnosis, an ECLO or Patient Support Service can answer your questions and help you to better understand a diagnosis, as well as support you with the next steps, such as registration and introductions to other support services.


Rehabilitation Officer (visual impairment)

A Rehabilitation Officer Visual Impairment (ROVI) supports people with sight loss to adapt to life with sight loss and restore independence by teaching adapted methods and new skills.

A rehabilitation officer can provide mobility and orientation training, including cane training, as well as other skills for independent living such as cooking skills. They can provide family members and carers with advice and training such as sighted guide training. They can also advise on lighting and environmental changes at home to aid independence and assess for suitable assistive equipment and technology.

Rehabilitation officers work in the community for local authority social services teams, charities, and in specialist settings. Contact your local council helpline for information on where to contact your local rehabilitation support. Eye liaison officers based in eye clinics throughout Scotland can also signpost and refer on to local services.

Sight Scotland offers rehabilitation services in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Sight Scotland Veterans offers rehabilitation services for veterans with sight loss across Scotland.


Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Visual Impairment (QTVI)

A QTVI is a specialist teacher who supports children and young people with visual impairment in their education and learning, as well as their families. A QTVI can assess your child and determine the support, skills and resources required to enable them to access learning.

These specialist teachers can work with babies and children in early years – working closely with parents to provide them with the skills and knowledge to best facilitate their child’s learning – and at any other stage of a child’s learning, including post-16 environments.

They can also liaise with health professionals and advise other teachers on curriculum access, independent living and social inclusion. They can guide school staff on how visual impairment affects each pupil’s learning and help them to adapt lessons and develop techniques to ensure the individual needs of children and young people with visual impairment are met.

QTVIs ensure that specialist skills, access to learning through braille, large print and assistive technology and life skills become part of children and young people’s everyday learning. QTVIs may work in specialist schools, such as at the Royal Blind School (run by Sight Scotland in Edinburgh), or they may work with children and young people with visual impairment in mainstream schools and education environments as a visiting teacher across a region. They also work through local authority sensory services.


Habilitation Specialist

Habilitation specialists (sometimes known as mobility officers or mobility specialists) work with children and young people with visual impairment. They support with mobility, teaching children and young people with visual impairment to be able to navigate different environments safely and independently.

They teach vital skills for everyday tasks and self-care. Habilitation specialists can also offer family and teacher support, teaching them skills in aspects such as sighted guide, and give advice on suitable environment adaptations or lighting to further independence.

Access to habilitation and rehabilitation varies across local authority areas. Your local authority will be able to advise you on how to access this support in your area.


Charity Outreach/Community Workers

Outreach and community workers who work for sensory loss charities are also a source of practical and emotional support at any age and stage of sight loss. Some sensory loss charities may have local outreach workers in your area who can provide local support with practical things such as CVI registration, benefits and connecting other local authority services/ health and social care partnerships.

Sight Scotland Veterans’ outreach team have outreach workers based across Scotland who support veterans with sight loss in their local regions.

The Sight Scotland Support Line is a freephone helpline with a friendly specialist team who can provide information and advice for anyone impacted by sight loss, including relatives, friends and carers.

Find out more about the Sight Scotland Support Line.

Medical research photo of woman being checked by an optometrist