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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




National Clinical Director for Eye Care; Two Mayors, Same Household

Parliament has revealed their plans to recruit a National Clinical Director for Eye Care, which could help transform services for patients. Until now, there's been no national clinical representation for eye care within NHS England and NHS Improvement, despite ophthalmology being the biggest out-patient department in the NHS. Last week, Minister Maria Caulfield announced that recruitment is now underway. We speak to the Chief Executive of the Macular Society, Cathy Yelf about this important...


Your Questions Answered

We had an inbox brimming with your questions and investigation requests, and so this program is dedicated to getting you some answers. On the program, we speak to the BBC News at 10's Executive News Editor, Paul Royall about the lack of English audio translations on their reports from Afghanistan. We speak to Virgin Media O2's Chief TV and Entertainment Officer, David Bouchier about their lack of a talking Electronic Program Guide on their latest set top box. And from access to pictures on...


Gender Identity

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It's sometimes known as gender identity disorder, gender incongruence or transgenderism. On this episode of In Touch, three visually impaired people tell us about their experiences with their gender transitions. We discuss why they've chosen this path, what have been the effects on their relationships with their family and friends, and...


Touch Screen Card Machines; Your Emails

Recently, a number of In Touch listeners have told us they're finding more touch screen card machines in their daily lives. These are the machines that do not have any raised buttons or tactile feedback. Supposedly, this type of machine is the future because most are operated by a similar technology as what is inside a smart phone. This gives a business a wider variety of payment options, and they can often be quicker and more reliable than the traditional machines we're all used to. But...


It's All About The Music!

In this music special, we'll be speaking to three visually impaired musicians about how they navigate their careers, what part their visual impairments play in that, and to what extent they buy the common misconception that blindness and good musicianship are linked. You'll be hearing from: Chris Campion, a heavy metal session guitarist from London. We talk about his career, spanning across many different genres of music, and about his solo tracks that were released over the lockdowns....


Channel 4's Audio Description Problems; Combining Sustainability and Inclusion

In the first interview since the problem occurred, Channel 4's chief marketing officer and executive lead for inclusion and diversity, Zaid Al-Qassab explains what has happened to their audio description and signing services. Neither has been working since the end of September. We ask why there were no back up services, what measures will be put in place to avoid it happening again, and most importantly when these services will be back up and running. We all know that global action is needed...


Social Care

When you first register for a certificate of visual impairment and you have informed your local authority that you may need care and support, they have a legal duty, under The Social Care Act, to carry out an assessment. This assessment is designed to evaluate what kind of extra support you need, perhaps it is help around the home or navigating the outside world. But problems seem to occur when a local authority does not have the specialist knowledge of visual impairments in order to...


It's our 60th Birthday!

We are 60 years old! Peter White shares his fondest memories and experiences of presenting In Touch and we hear something of the programme's history from one of the original producers. Also, cornea and retina specialists have begun to notice eye-related complications in people who have recovered from COVID 19. Some people have experienced blurred vision while ill with the disease, but it appears that for some, the effect can remain, long after they've recovered. In some cases, it's thought...


Banks and ATMs; Assistive Tech for Work

Figures by the consumer group Which? show that, over a six year period, the number of bank branches across the UK have decreased by around 44%. The number of cash machines have also decreased; in just two years, we've lost nearly 11 thousand of them nationwide. But what does this mean for people who may prefer to use cash or visit their local branch? We speak with the Head of Money at Which?, Gareth Shaw about their findings on this. We also talk to the UK's largest provider of cash...


AI Macular Degeneration Detection; New Money For Blind Sport

It can be a common occurrence to hear your doctor say 'if only we'd caught this sooner'. Well, the reading department at Moorfields Eye Hospital have created a way to detect signs of one of the most common causes of blindness, all in under 30 seconds. They've done this using artificial intelligence technology and it can detect Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. There is currently no treatment for this condition, unlike the 'wet' form of the disorder, but it is an exciting...


The Return to University

September marks the start of the new university term. We hear from some visually impaired students who are returning to their studies. They tell us about their experiences with university life so far, and what they're expecting from this new academic year. We also hear from a former disability student advisor about what support is available for visually impaired students and from Rachel Hewett from the Vision Impairment Centre For Teaching and Research at the University of Birmingham, about...


Ofcom on Audio Description; Audio Only Video Games

Audio Description has been around for over 30 years: it is filling in the silences on TV, films and the theatre so that blind and partially sighted people can follow the action easier. The current legal requirements for audio description, for all of the major broadcasters, is set at 10% but there are currently no legal requirements for on-demand streaming, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime etc. We speak with one of the Principals in Ofcom's Content Policy team, Cathy Taylor about Ofcom's...


Social Media Special

It is claimed that social media is so popular these days, that there are now more people using it across the globe than are not. But how easy is it to navigate and participate in when you're blind or partially sighted? We'll be speaking to two social media influencers, who are using different platforms to educate people about sight loss. We'll also be speaking to Facebook and Instagram's head of accessibility, Mike Shebanek, about what they are doing to ensure ease of use for visually...


Gold! At The Tokyo Paralympics; Gyms Doing Good Things

Over the weekend, Team GB's visually impaired athletes won multiple medals: including gold across the cycling, swimming and judo. We check in with our reporter Mani Djazmi who brings us details of those medal wins and interviews with some of our gold medallists. And there could be many reasons why you'd be put off visiting the gym. It could be perceived attitudes or thinking that gyms may not provide the necessary adaptations for you. Well, under the Equalities Act, it is a legal requirement...


Paralympic Games; The Art of Blind Photography

Recently, there has been some criticism about the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games going ahead, due to a rise in coronavirus cases in Tokyo. Despite this, the games have commenced and on the show, we hear about how they were justified from the President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons. And our reporter Mani Djazmi is in Tokyo and will be telling us who to look out for and about the atmosphere within the Tokyo site, given the pandemic restrictions. And it may seem...


Disability Strategy and Employment

It may not come as a surprise to you that, for many years, unemployment rates amongst blind and visually impaired people have been consistently high. This is despite government efforts to combat this. Well, the recent release of two reports has put disability employment back on the agenda. We ask the Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson about this government's plans, outlined within their new disability strategy, to get more blind and visually impaired people into work. And the...


Audio Description; Goalball Classifications

During the lockdown period, we all added an extra 40 minutes a day, on average, onto our TV watching time; whether that was watching live TV or via streaming platforms. But are there sufficient levels of audio description available able to accompany this increase? We'll be asking this of some TV consumers and looking into the minimum legal requirements for audio description, set by the UK's regulator of communication services Ofcom. Goalball is the sport designed to be played by blind and...


Assistive Technology For Pupils; Comedian Jamie MacDonald

Home learning can be difficult for blind and visually impaired children. But the charity Guide Dogs is aiming to change that with their new Tech for All scheme. Within the pilot of the scheme, Guide Dogs are aiming to provide free iPads to around 3,500 children to help them with their school work and overall independence. We talk to the charity's Director of Operations, Peter Osborne about the background to the scheme and we hear from a family who have benefitted. If you've not heard of him...


A Paralympics Special

There has been more than a year of uncertainty about whether the Olympic and Paralympic games will actually go ahead in Tokyo this year. The Olympics are already in full swing and the Paralympic games will start on the 24th of August. Ahead of the games, we hear from two visually impaired para athletes, Alison Peasgood of triathlon and Elliot Stewart of judo, about how the past year has been. We hear about their training and fitness levels and how they're feeling about heading to Tokyo to...


Photo ID At Polling Stations; Network Rail On Tactile Paving

Plans to require voters to show photo ID at polling stations were recently introduced in Parliament under the Elections Bill. But The RNIB are concerned that this will make the electoral process even less accessible for blind and partially sighted voters, who are seemingly disproportionately less likely to hold a passport or driving licence. We talk to the RNIB's Director of Development Keith Valentine about the charity's concerns surrounding this. And we get some answers from Network Rail's...