Skills for Seeing

Please note: owing to the coronavirus outbreak, we have suspended the work of our Skills for Seeing volunteers. More about Coronavirus and the Macular Society

Teaching you skills that could help you to continue reading, enjoying TV, staying independent and doing the things you love.

“I can’t believe how much I learnt in an hour in my own sitting room, just using a magnifier in a different way and using lighting differently. It all seems such simple and practical advice, but it has made such a difference.” - Pat Hayes, service user

What is Skills for Seeing?

One-to-one advice on how to make best use of the vision you have to continue doing the things you love. Combining vision know-how, magnification, lighting and, where it works for you, eccentric viewing and steady eye techniques.

Who’s it for?

Anyone losing their central vision because of a macular condition, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), particularly in later stages.

Two part programme

Divided into two parts, everyone can benefit from the first session, learning the skills and knowledge to help them manage their condition better. Part two covers eccentric viewing and steady eye strategy, but not everyone chooses to do this, it very much depends on your individual circumstances.

What is eccentric viewing?

As the macula changes, some parts will be more effective than others. We help you find your point of best vision and teach you how to use it. You may find you need to look away from an object - looking off-centre or ‘eccentrically’ – to see it more clearly. It takes time and practice to perfect this skill, but it has helped people to continue to read and carry on with other tasks that require a degree of detail.

What is steady eye strategy?

Steady eye strategy involves keeping your eyes still and moving the text through the best part of your vision, which can help you read faster and more accurately. This technique can take longer to learn than eccentric viewing, but it is particularly useful for people who have a very small part of central vision which is still clear.

Working in partnership with your local community

Sessions are delivered by trained staff or volunteers on a one-to-one basis at no cost to you. Skills for Seeing usually takes between one and three one-hour sessions spread over several weeks.

Sessions are usually delivered in your own home or at a local sight support centre, where available.

For more information about Skills for Seeing and for free one-to-one coaching in these techniques, please fill in this form or call the Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111.