Marsha and George stand together in a parliamentary council chamber.

George gives his oral evidence to the APPG

George has not yet completed his first month as an intern Information Support Officer with the Nystagmus Network. This week he was given a very special assignment, to give oral evidence to the APPG on eye health and visual impairment as they undertake their inquiry into employer attitudes and blind and visually impaired people.

Stepping into the historic halls of Parliament, I felt a mix of excitement and nerves. As a visually impaired individual, the opportunity to speak at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Lived Experience was not just a chance to share my perspective but also a responsibility to advocate for greater inclusivity in the workplace. Chaired by the esteemed MP Marsha de Cordova, the session focused on gathering oral evidence for the inquiry into employers’ attitudes towards individuals with visual impairments.

Representing the Nystagmus Network was both an honour and a privilege. As an advocate for individuals with visual impairments, I had the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the invaluable work carried out by the Nystagmus Network in supporting people living with nystagmus.

One of the most striking aspects of the session was the genuine interest and engagement from the other speakers and hearing about their own personal experiences. Marsha de Cordova’s leadership fostered an environment where every voice was not just heard but valued. As she turned to me for my response, I spoke passionately about the barriers faced by individuals with visual impairments in securing and maintaining employment. From inaccessible job application processes to the lack of accommodations in the workplace, I highlighted the systemic challenges that often hinder the professional aspirations of individuals with sight loss. Drawing from my own journey, I emphasised the importance of proactive measures such as reasonable adjustments and awareness training to create more inclusive work environments.

The exchange that followed was not just a dialogue but a catalyst for change. Marsha de Cordova’s thoughtful questions and receptiveness to our testimonies signalled a genuine willingness to address the issues at hand. Through open and honest conversation, I felt a sense of optimism that real progress could be made towards dismantling barriers and fostering greater inclusivity.

Leaving Parliament that day, I carried with me a renewed sense of purpose. While the road ahead may be challenging, the experience reaffirmed my belief in the power of advocacy and collective action. As Marsha de Cordova continues to champion disability rights within the halls of Parliament, I remain committed to lending my voice to the cause and working towards a future where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can thrive in the workplace.

In conclusion, my participation in the APPG Lived Experience was not just an opportunity to speak truth to power but a testament to the resilience and determination of individuals with visual impairments. Together, let us continue to advocate for a world where inclusivity is not just a goal but a reality for all.

George Plumridge



A crowded street scene, with lots of blurring so that individual faces cannot be seen clearly.

Support for visually impaired jobseekers

RNIB and BlindAmbition present a 16-week series of free weekly webinars to support visually impaired job seekers achieve the next stage in their career: finding a new role, entering employment, starting an apprenticeship, or starting up a new business. The webinars will cover a range of topics from CV writing, different ways to market yourself and interview tips. There are 16 sessions in all. You can join any or all of them. Details of the first 3 below:

21 February 19:30 How to present yourself: 

Image, body language and confidence 

Click here to register for Present Yourself webinar 

28 February 19:30 Goal setting: 

Where I’ve come from, where I am and where I am going. The importance of goal setting, why we need it, how to set SMART objectives, determine your objectives, are you on track? 

Click here to register for Goal Setting webinar 

7 March 19:30 A skills audit: SWOT analysis 

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, identify gaps and plan to address them. 

Click here to register for SWOT Analysis webinar

The hands of someone working at a desk.

Nystagmus awareness at work

A guest post

After my first proper job following university, I decided to ‘come out’ about my disability and support needs. I was worried this might make me stand out for the wrong reasons, but felt it was important to be my own advocate.

It was a positive move and I get lots of support and adaptations at work in my new job.

But, with remote working, I felt I was ‘back in the closet’.

Homeworking has been a revelation. It suits me so much better. There’s no commuting and the stress of getting my train, more screen breaks and no setting up the desk each day. I’m all set up at home with lots of natural light and my big screens. No hot desking!

The downside is that people are no longer seeing me every day, passing my workstation. On Zoom they don’t notice my eye movements, my head turn, they can’t see the large print papers on my desk or my wide screens. People have forgotten I have nystagmus.

I’ve found it something of a demeaning experience to have to go through it all again with my manager and my teammates, but the positive outcome for me is that home working is considered a reasonable adjustment and is now written in to my contract.

My message is ‘don’t let people forget about us’. We’re not working for their convenience. Things can still fall through the cracks. I want to work in an environment that lets me shine.

Do you have a nystagmus at work story you’d like to share for Nystagmus Awareness Day 2022? If so, please email us at [email protected]

Download our guide to Nystagmus and Employment here

the logo of the University of Birmingham and VICTAR

Vision impairment and employment – a research project

Guest Post: Dr. Liz Ellis, VICTAR, University of Birmingham

The Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) at the University of Birmingham is conducting research to understand more about the factors which contribute to employment outcomes (the good and not so good) for individuals with a visual impairment, living and/or working in Greater London. This project is being funded by the Vision Foundation and will help to ensure their work is evidence-based and impactful.

We would like to talk with people with vision impairment who are working at the moment, those who are not working, those working in their dream job, those who are looking for a career move, those in part-time jobs, as well as those working full-time – we want to hear about a range of different experiences via an online focus group.

We would also like to talk, via an online focus group, with professionals who have experience of supporting individuals with vision impairment into employment.

Anyone who is aged 18 years or over, in Greater London and interested and able to help should click the link for more information and the option to register to participate. All participants will receive a £20 shopping voucher as a token of appreciation for their time.

For more information please contact Dr. Liz Ellis by email at [email protected]

Blind in Business event

“Expectations Exceeded” Parent and family workshop run by Friends of Moorfields and Blind in Business

Friday 22 May 2020

2pm to 5pm

Kemp House (next to Moorfields Eye Hospital)

152-160 City Road, EC1V 2NX

The Boardroom, 4th Floor

Parents, carers, young people, friends and family are all welcome to attend!

  • Learn and speak with blind and visually impaired people who are working in modern careers.  
  • Get views and opinions on their education, finding work, the technology they use, what support they have and what experiences they’ve had throughout their lives.

Into employment with VI

Latest study shows improvements for young people with vision impairment entering employment but more needs to be done

The latest results of a Longitudinal Transition Study published by the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) at the University of Birmingham and Thomas Pocklington Trust show an increase to those entering employment but inconsistencies of support across the country highlight that more needs to be done.

The study has followed the experiences of the same group of young people with vision impairment from secondary school into further education and employment.

Read the full report and the key findings here.

Dan Williams crouches beside his guide dog, Zodiac.

“I’m struggling to see at work”

A guest post from our Open Day 2019 keynote speaker, Daniel Williams, founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy:

Losing eyesight is both challenging and difficult, scary and disconcerting. Having to change the way you do things, adapting to new challenges and learn new skills can be exhausting. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of eyesight deterioration is the uncertainty around employment. Sometimes it may be hard to tell somebody at work about your sight loss for fear of losing your job and you may struggle with tasks and suffer from eye strain or headaches because you are trying so hard to cope. Or, you could be afraid to tell your manager in case they think that you can no longer carry out your daily tasks as efficiently as you used to and this may lead to unemployment and all the uncertainty and ambiguity this may bring.

Let’s think about the common symptoms of sight loss, and how experiencing these symptoms may make you feel:

  • You may find the computer screen difficult to see
  • You may experience eye fatigue or pain
  • You may struggle to recognise colleagues
  • You may be struggling to get around
  • The lighting may be giving you discomfort
  • You may be getting tired
  • You may be finding print difficult to read
  • You may be getting constant headaches
  • You may think you are being clumsy
  • You may not be able to see your keyboard clearly

Experiencing just one of these symptoms may make you feel worried, uncomfortable or anxious. If not checked, in time, these feelings may escalate and cause you to struggle in both your work life and private life. But it is important to understand that help is available and that you don’t have to be totally blind to get help. In fact, the vast majority of visually impaired people in full-time employment have partial or useful vision. Don’t give up your job, just because you’ve lost your vision.

The Equality ACT 2010 protects you against disability discrimination. Your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Visualise Training and Consultancy can carry out a work-based assessment to assess your needs and not only give you and your employer ideas on how to make your work life easier, but they will also write a full report, detailing any special equipment or alterations that can be made.

Let’s take a look at the four most common problems that may occur in the workplace for people who are losing or have lost some of their eyesight. Alongside the problem, we’ll look at possible solutions.

“I can’t see my computer screen very well any more…”

This is a common issue that can be tackled in a number of ways. You can use a bigger screen, use an anti-glare filter on your screen or change the colour scheme and text size within Windows. Failing this, a special screen magnifying programme can be used to enlarge what’s on the screen and change the colours and contrast. In some cases, a special piece of screen reading software such as Jaws or NVDA can be used. This will read-out what you type and tell you what is on the screen. Some people may use a mixture of screen reading software and screen magnification software, others may exclusively use screen reading software.

“I’m finding print difficult to read…”

A hand-held magnifier can be used to enlarge print, but technology can also be used. A CCTV/ video magnifier  can make reading easier, as can coloured filters and smart phone apps such as KNFB Reader and SeeingAI. Sometimes, scanning a document and reading it on a screen suits some people, as does experimenting with different lighting. In cases where the print is too challenging for technology to tackle, Access To Work may pay for a PA or Support Worker to help you read documents.

“I suffer from headaches and eye strain…”

If you try to exceed the limit of your vision it can be very tiring. Sometimes, headaches and eye fatigue can be environmental, caused by bright, fluorescent overhead lighting or poor task lighting. Often, tweaks to the environment and regular breaks can help prevent discomfort. Also, a good quality, consistent light source can make a lot of difference.

“My sighted colleagues don’t know how to support me in the best way”

Remember your colleagues may not have ever worked with someone with reduced vision. So be loud and proud, tell them what you need and how best to communicate with you. They may also benefit from visual impairment awareness training to understand how best to support employees with sight loss.

“I can no longer drive…”

Losing your driving license because of sight loss is very common and very worrying. However, there are ways to tackle the problem. Discounted rail and bus travel can be acquired with disability passes, making travel to work on public transport cheaper. However, if you have to travel to appointments within your role, or if using public transport is impractical, Access To Work may pay for taxis. This makes life a great deal easier and eliminates some stress.

These problems and more can cause high levels of discomfort, stress and anxiety. It is important to remember that help is available, and that communication is often the key to starting the journey to positivity and a sense of equilibrium. Don’t suffer in silence. The Equality Act 2010 is on your side:

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society

It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone.”

To book a workplace assessment, please visit Visualise Training and Consultancy.