We support blind and partially sighted people of all ages to live the life they want to lead. Read more on our vision, values and strategic priorities here.Find out more about 'Our Vision and Values'
V I Lives
V I Lives was produced jointly by Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs and Thomas Pocklington Trust to provide an in-depth and comprehensive picture of the experiences, barriers and gaps in support for blind and partially sighted people.
Launched in September 2022, it is based on hundreds of conversations with people who live with a vision impairment.
It provides one of the richest and most in-depth pictures yet of the factors that can help, or in some cases hinder, their ability to lead independent and fulfilled lives.
VI Lives key findings
- Improving public awareness, understanding and empathy is considered by blind and partially sighted people to be a priority for improving their quality of life. It was felt that public understanding of sight loss is poor, and that general ignorance has led to negative encounters.
- Diagnosis of sight loss is a critical moment for most, but there’s not enough information, guidance and empathy. More practical and emotional support, better signposting and quicker referrals are needed.
- Better accessibility to transport and public places is the most important factor to improve quality of life. A quarter of people affected by sight loss feel they are not getting out as much as they would like.
- People affected by sight loss often feel cut off from employment opportunities and that little support is offered to them and nearly a third have difficulty stretching their household budget.
- ‘Smart technology’ such as smart speakers, smart watches and virtual assistants is a key enabler, helping blind and partially sighted people to access information and digital services. However there are disparities in awareness and access. Many are unaware of the available apps, specialist equipment and technology that can make their lives easier.
V I Lives methodology
The insights in this study were collected from a combination of quantitative and qualitative research with over 800 people with a vision impairment. All participants were recruited on the same basis of self-reporting a vision impairment that cannot be corrected by glasses – this was qualified through registration status and levels of difficulties in terms of functional vision (near, distance, peripheral).
For the quantitative study, 769 telephone interviews were conducted with V I people aged 13+ living in the UK using a questionnaire designed to discover and understand their needs. To add emotional depth, nuance, verbatim, and stories, the quantitative research was supplemented with 36 x in-depth qualitative insight interviews and 18 x week-long ethnographic studies.