There is no blanket exemption for anyone with a vision impairment. The government has clarified that the exemption could apply to people who have “a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view”.
When living with sight loss we recommend that you try on your mask at home first and get used to navigating your home wearing the mask, before heading to the shops or using public transport.
Senior Outreach Worker, Kirstie, says:
When I first wore my mask, I found it restricted my peripheral vision which I rely upon to get around. I would suggest trying your mask on at home first and seeing if, or how, this affects your vision and maybe get used to navigating your home wearing the mask first before heading to the shops or using public transport
Here are a few tips from The World Health Organisation (WHO) on how to wear and store your face mask/covering appropriately:
- Wash your hands before and after touching your mask.
- Cover your mouth, nose and chin and adjust the mask so there are no gaps on the sides.
- Avoid touching the mask when wearing it, and use the straps to put it on and take it off.
- Store in a clean plastic, resealable bag after use and wash the mask at least once a day, with your normal laundry.
Watch & listen to this helpful video produced by the Sight Loss Councils in which one of their vision impaired members explains how to put on and take off a face covering correctly.
To prevent your glasses from fogging up while wearing your face covering wash them in soapy water – but avoid those with a citrus base which contain damaging fruit acids or those with softeners which leave a residue.
For anyone who does have a legitimate cause to not wear a face covering, the government has introduced a voluntary exemption card scheme. The approved designs can be downloaded from their website for use on a mobile device or to be printed out as a card or badge. Further details of the exemption cards are included in the government guidance.
For more information from the NHS please visit their website here.
Find out more about the support & services we are providing members during this time.