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In Touch


News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted

News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted


London, United Kingdom




News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted




Social distancing

In this special programme we discuss what the rules on social distancing mean for the way blind and visually impaired people live their lives. For example, is it safe for a stranger to guide someone by the arm? What concerns are there around using public transport? We speak to Kirsten Hearn, a blind listener who raised the issue before lockdown. We hear how she is feeling now. We hear the experience of those who live in countries just emerging from lockdown. Peter Brass is a board member of...


Uber, Eye Treatment and Lockdown Fitness

Why Uber is being taken to court by a blind user who says he's had his journeys cancelled after he has told them he has a guide dog. During the outbreak of the Covid-19 what is happening to eye treatment? In the latest in our round-up of what's happening around the UK, we hear from Raymond Curran, Head of Ophthalmic Services for the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland. Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge want your help to carry out a survey of how people are keeping themselves...


Lockdown Shopping Update and Keeping Fit

Social distancing introduced many challenges for blind people, including shopping with fewer people guiding you, and little access to online shopping slots. A petition from blind organisations called for recognition that while blind people may not be more susceptible to Covid-19, more help is needed. We look at the latest pronouncements on vulnerable people and shopping from government. And we've more in our series on how different parts of the nation are delivering emergency eye care with...


Urgent Eye Care in Wales and John Slade

Covid-19 has not stopped people needing eye appointments - and emergency help. But what you can expect across the UK when it comes to a sudden loss of sight or a serious problem differs. We speak to Sali Davis, Chief Executive of Optometry Wales about the surprising procedures which are available from high street optometrists - and why the picture near her is different to England. And we remember a man who brought hours of fun to blind people who had previously been excluded - John Slade -...



The effects of Age-related Macular Degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma don't change because of lockdown. And people with some conditions are worried that the cancellation of existing appointments to prevent the spread of Coronavirus could mean an irreversible loss of vision. President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists Dr Michael Burdon is on hand to explain what you should expect when it comes to cancellations, but also what happens if a consultant decides you should definitely be...


Pressure on sight loss charities; Using video conferencing when you're visually impaired

Peter White hears from sight loss charities struggling during the Coronavirus crisis. Will a financial aid package announced by the Chancellor work for them? We hear tips on using video conferencing when you're visually impaired. And remembering the blind marchers who, a century ago, headed for London demanding fair treatment. PRODUCER: Mike Young.


Shopping during lockdown and Braille library closure

Keeping a safe two-metre distance during the Covid-19 lockdown presents a serious difficulty for people who are used to being guided when they shop. So a new petition by leading blind organisations is calling on the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to include the blind and visually impaired in its list of 1.5m vulnerable people who receive priority online shopping slots. We talk to reporter Mani Djazmi about his own quest for groceries and whether an exception should be...


Coronavirus and Blind Isolation

Coronavirus lockdown measures pose many problems for blind and visually impaired people. Will services become more stretched as hospitals and social care come under more pressure? How do you navigate shops which are occasionally bare when it comes to essentials? We hear the concerns of listeners - as Cathy Yelf of The Macular Society has definite advice for people with the condition - to not skip on your crucial, sight saving injections for fear of having to stay indoors. And a calming piece...


Job Prospects

In a special focusing on careers and the job market for blind and visually impaired people, we hear from young people first entering the world of work. Reporter Fern Lulham gives us her insights, and Jess Clements, workplace co-ordinator at Blind in Business, tells us about how attitudes to the workplace and the horizons of young blind people are changing. John Lynch from the Royal National College for the Blind tells us about their work and changes to the DWP system for helping VI people...


Coronavirus and Pavement Parking

As more information about measures to reduce the impact of coronavirus is revealed, what is their impact on the blind and visually impaired? Reliance on touch - and the impact of too much caution - could have serious implications according to listener Kirsten Hearn. And Director of Operations at Guide Dogs Peter Osborne tells us what his organisation is doing to mitigate the situation in a time of upheaval. And he hinted at a change on our programme a few weeks ago - but Grant Shapps has...


Schizophrenia and blindness, Hester Poole, and Nicholas Saunderson

The view persists that blindness can lead to other senses being somehow more acute - but are they just better trained? The notion of "neuroplasticity" comes up in consideration of the work of our first guest, Professor Vera Morgan Head of the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit in the University of Western Australia. Her studies support the idea that the congenitally blind, or those who become blind in their early years are somehow protected from schizophrenia. If this is the case -...


Blind stand-up comedy, accessible apps and a study about touch

Radio 4's All in the Mind programme is running a big survey on how we feel about touch. Peter White talks to the presenter Claudia Hammond about why they especially welcome contributions from blind listeners. We explore what to do when you find an app that isn't accessible. And interview the blind comedian David Eagle who has just been named best newcomer in the influential Chortle Awards.


Accessible transport, macular disease and would you want your sight restored?

The government has launched its plans to make the UK a world leader in accessible travel. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, tells us what the investment will achieve. We hear from Professor Paul Bishop from the University of Manchester about new developments that may help people with macular disease, which is the biggest cause of blindness in the UK. And, what would it be like to have your sight restored? Blind playwright Mandy Redvers Rowe talks about her new BBC drama, 'Second Sight'.


Gene therapy on the NHS, The RNIB Reading Service, Blind architecture

Voretigene Neparvovec – is the first in a new generation of gene therapies which can be injected into the eyes of patients - and it's available on the NHS. It's a major development for people with the inherited retinal disorder Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), but as ever, we want to get to the real implications for blind people. Fresh from performing one of the newly-available procedures, Professor James Bainbridge tells us exactly who it can help. And there are changes ahead for the...


In Touch

As the government consults on the use of e-scooters on roads, Christiane Möller of the German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV) tells us about the impact the vehicles have had on blind people in her country. And Adam Solan, a teenager who has already struggled with abandoned bikes for hire in Oxford, gives us his perspective. And Valentine's Day is nearly here. But what are the challenges of being a blind bride? Sassy Wyatt is a blogger and she's agreed to keep us about...


Red Button Reprieve and Working Overseas When You're Blind

The BBC is pausing its plan to shut down the Red Button text service after protests from blind users. But can it be saved long term? How safe are blind children as they go online? And the opportunities on offer for blind 18-35 year olds to volunteer to work abroad. PRESENTER: Peter White PRODUCER: Mike Young


Sjogren's Syndrome and Blind Surfing

A call has gone out for more male blood donors. It turns out that male blood is crucial for the eye drops needed to control a rare eye condition. Sjogren's Syndrome is an auto-immune disease which can have several effects including aggravating already dry eyes. We'll hear from someone with Sjogren's Syndrome and an expert on the condition. And we meet Melissa Reid - a gold medal winning triathlete who now has become a champion surfer too. Presenter: Peter White. Producer: Mike Young.


Talking Buses and A New Way To Read

Peter White hears about the talking technology that is slowly being added to the UK's buses. When will more public transport get the equipment that tells you where you are and where you're headed? We hear about the app designed to help people with macular degeneration to continue to read text. Producer: Mike Young Presenter: Peter White


Help On Your Doorstep?

Peter White with a focus on smaller blind charities in the UK. We hear from Visionary, an umbrella organisation which represents more than a hundred of these charities. The Chief Executives of Sight Concern Worcestershire and Sight Service Gateshead tell us about the challenges they face. And we hear from the people who use the services on offer. PRODUCER: Mike Young.


Funding Research Into Blindness; Blind Physios

Leading eye experts in the UK have signed an open letter in The Guardian calling for more funds for medical research. We'll hear from Professor Chris Hammond who is one of the signatories of that letter... And Fight For Sight's Dr Rubina Ahmed. And we meet Mike Tetley, the blind physiotherapist who's still working after more than 60 years.