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Supporting People with Sight Loss

Maeve Lawler is the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), a service run by RNIB Scotland. Her support region for those with sight loss covers the Highlands and Islands – including Orkney.

This vital support service gives people both emotional and practical help.

Maeve explained:

“The ECLO service gives people the opportunity to discuss their sight diagnosis and access information about the things which are important to them.

“It acts as an important bridge between health and social services and is central to the support and wellbeing of patients in eye clinics. We also help prevent avoidable sight loss, by talking through treatment and helping people to understand their medication if necessary.

“There are a wide variety of concerns that people first bring. We help patients talk through these. When they’re ready we can give advice on how to lessen any impact their eye condition may have on them. Emotional support is a huge factor, just having someone to talk to and to be able to get some reassurance is a first step.

“The service is available to anyone who has previously attended, or is currently attending, a hospital eye clinic, or anyone who is experiencing a change in their vision. Support is available to people of all ages, as well as family members and carers.

“We provide the ECLO service in Orkney over the phone or by email, offering support to those who wish to access it. Providing support in this way, allows me to speak to people when they are at home and feeling comfortable and ready to talk. You can get in touch with me directly by phone or email.

“I do think our service is invaluable. I speak to people from all walks of life who don’t know what help is out there or how to access it. Without contact with an ECLO, they may never find out about the wide range of support available through RNIB as well as other local and national organisations.

“Every day in Scotland, ten people begin to lose their sight. Without our service, people may lose confidence and find it difficult to cope, leading to social isolation and depression.”

Maeve Lawler can be contacted by phone on 07525910153 or by email at maeve.lawler@rnib.org.uk

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