Support

If you are a parent who is coming to terms with your new born baby being diagnosed with a life long eye condition or trying to cope with the despair of your child losing some or all of their vision from illness or trauma we understand how devastating this can be.

For most parents this is the first time they will have encountered a visual impairment and trying to understand what life for your child will be like, is frightening and daunting. Angel Eyes NI will provide practical advice on help that is available to you as a parent,  to come to terms with the shock and isolation you feel at this time.  It can be very reassuring to talk to another parent who understands your frustrations and fears.

As parents who have gone through similar experiences we can advise from a “parents” perspective how to cope through this difficult time. Our main aim is to provide parents with as much information as they need to make informed choices for their child regarding services and support and later on education for their child.

If you require information on benefits or services we can signpost you to the relevant agencies.

Please contact us and we will either email or telephone you – please specify your preference.

 

Who the Doctors Are?

Ophthalmologist: An Ophthalmologist is a medical eye specialist or eye doctor who deals with diagnosis and health of the eye, and child.  They also can perform surgery and prescribe medication as necessary.  The ophthalmologist has the ability to request registration for an individual as blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired).

Optometrist: An Optometrist or Optician checks the child’s vision, prescribing glasses and low vision aids as necessary.  An Optometrist can also assess the health of the eye, make an initial diagnosis , manage some cases or refer a patient if necessary.

Orthoptist: An Orthoptist will look at the eyes movements paying close attention to the eye muscles, and is mainly interested in binocular vision.  In particular Orthoptists are involved in the management of squints (where an eye turns in or out) or a lazy eye where the vision is poorer in that eye and patching (of the good eye) is sometimes indicated.  They also assess any unusual head tilts associated with nystagmus (which is an involuntary repetitive movement of the eyes and is noticed in the first months of life).

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) support

 

Eye Clinic Liason Service (ECLO) is provided by RNIB and you can get more details of this service on http://www.rnib.org.uk/aboutus/contactdetails/nireland/nihealthsocialcar
e/Pages/eyecare.aspx

To find out more about RNIB's Children's service use the following link: http://www.rnib.org.uk/aboutus/contactdetails/nireland/nichildren/Pages/
childrenyouthni.aspx

Benefits for Children with a Visual Impairment

Disability Living Allowance (Form DLA 1)

This benefit is neither means tested nor taxable and is payable for babies and children who need help with care and mobility.  It is advisable to claim as soon as possible for you child.  You can get a form from you local DHSS office.  Alternatively you can contact Social Services.

Health Benefits: All children are eligible for free prescriptions, eye tests and also help towards the cost of glasses.  Vouchers for glasses will be given to you by your ophthalmologist and you can get glasses for your child from your local optician.  As glasses for children with a visual impairment are usually more complex the voucher does not always cover the full cost.

Family Fund: The purpose of this government funded organisation is to ease stress on families who care for disabled children under 16 years old, by providing a means tested grant and information related to the care of the child.  Please contact the Family Fund directly to find out more on www.familyfundtrust.co.uk

Fares to Hospital: You may be entitled to help with the cost of travelling to and from hospital with your child – please contact the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 to find out more.

Warm Homes Scheme: For parents with a child under 16 years and who are receiving Income Support benefit or Working Families Tax Credit may be eligible for the Warm Home Scheme.  Please ring Warm Homes Scheme directly on 0800 9880559 to find out more.

Benefits and Concessions when your child is Registered

If a child is registered blind they are entitled to a 50% reduction on a television licence and a free travel pass.  Contact Social Services for more details.

Blue Badge Scheme: If your child is registered blind or partially sighted you may be entitled to apply for a blue badge to enable you to park nearer their destination.  Please contact your local social services to find out more.