Ordinary tasks such as shopping can become increasingly difficult when you have a visual impairment. We asked our members to share their hints and tips to make it a bit easier. 


If you have a smartphone, write your list on a computer keyboard and email it to your smartphone. Use the camera to take photos of labels; you can then magnify them up to a size you can read. There are also apps that can help with reading too.

Before you go out shopping, try to organise your list of items for purchase in a way that is easy for you to refer to. This may be on paper in large writing, on a digital recorder, etc. Also try to use your knowledge of the local shop to cluster the items on the list that are likely to be close together in the shop.

In the shops

Take time to learn where the Customer Service desk is in your local shop and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help to do your shopping. The more you use assistance from shop staff, the more they will begin to recognise you and the easier it will be to get the help you want.

It’s time to dust off your cane – we are often worried about using a cane if we’ve not had it for long, but in a busy shop it can be so helpful to stop you bumping in to people or the special offers stands. It’s also a quick indicator to staff that you might need assistance.


Ask your bank for an accessible debit or credit card. One of our members has a card with a large arrow and a small notch on the end which helps you to know which way to put it into any paying machine. The number on the card is black numbers on a white background rather than silver, so the number can be read using a hand-held magnifier or CCTV magnifier.

When at the checkout divide goods into two lots on the conveyor and ask the checkout operator to stop the till at £30. Put the extra goods into the second lot and pay on contactless card twice avoiding using PIN.

Organising at home

When putting shopping away, one of our members lines their tins up by product so all the tomatoes are in one line from front to back, and all the beans, etc. It means they know exactly what is in each row because the items are in alphabetical order.

If using technology such as barcode recognition software/ apps (e.g. Seeing AI), remember that there may be barcodes on the packaging of multipacks but no barcode on the individual items within the multipack – this may mean that the individual items are not recognised at home. You might need a back-up way of doing this!

If you have any helpful tips to share, please let us know by emailing us at