What is the Low Vision Centre?

The centre provides a comprehensive range of services enabling people to use their vision to the greatest potential. These services are delivered in a relaxed community setting where the size of our team (there are fourteen of us in total) means that we have the time to spend with people to fully assess their needs.

Our team consists of three optometrists, two low vision dispensing opticians, a rehabilitation officer and three counsellors, assisted by our group of five administrators.

The quality of the services we deliver is independently acknowledged and recognised through our awards. We are past winners of The Association of Optometrists ‘Specialist Eyecare Practice of the Year’. 

Low Vision Assessments

Our services extend beyond the obvious (prescriptions for spectacles, the provision of aids and so forth) to include rehabilitation and emotional support, offering a joined-up approach to meet an individual’s particular needs.

If you are having difficulties with your vision, we may be able to help; our objective is to make best use of your residual vision. This may simply involve ensuring that your spectacles are suitable for your needs, or offering practical advice on how to use lighting and colour contrast, through to advice about the use of information technology and the supply of low vision aids such as magnifiers and training in their use.


As part of our integrated approach to low vision services, our team includes two specialist low vision dispensing opticians. This means that we can offer a one-stop shop, both assessing your needs and also prescribing and dispensing spectacles.

You can find out more by calling us on 0121 478 5252.

Emotional Support

The onset of sight loss doesn’t just cause practical problems; it can lead to feelings of isolation and despair as people come to terms with the changes to their lives. Our counselling services complement the practical assistance that Focus Birmingham provides.

Our service is completely confidential and offers a means of exploring reaction, thoughts, feelings and fears about vision loss, without judgement or interference. Your dignity and your choices are respected.

This service can help someone to grieve their loss, regain their confidence and reclaim their life. It includes both talking therapy and access to expert patient programmes, and is available free of charge to anyone registered with a Birmingham GP.

We work with people predominantly on a one to one basis, but can adapt this approach if necessary and beneficial, to include working with small groups.

Independent Living Advice

Based out of our Harborne premises, our rehabilitation advisor, Mohammed A. Rashid, is available from 9:00 to 4:30 on a Monday to Friday and offers a drop-in service for anyone wishing to learn about the range of aids and devices available to anyone with a visual impairment.

You can contact our rehabilitation advisor on 0121 478 5216 or email lowvision@focusbirmingham.org.uk. If you want to learn more about the aids we sell, please visit our online shop.

IT 4 Kids Project

Our IT 4 Kids project provides technology for use by children in the home for both leisure and homework purposes. To date, we have provided braille notetakers, laptop computers and CCTV systems.

Our ability to run this programme is supported by charitable donations and funds are limited, so this programme is not open to public applications.

Criteria to qualify:

  • children must be proposed by a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (‘QTVI’),
  • be less than sixteen,
  • have a visual impairment and live in Birmingham.

"School are seeing a difference in his attitude when coping with situations that he would have found difficult previously. He is more considered in his reactions and this is resulting in less confrontations.  It is wonderful that this specialist support is available to the young people we work with."  by Patricia Long, Advisory Teacher of the Visually Impaired working with Focus Birmingham

Education & training

We employ a highly-qualified team of professionals with specialist knowledge in the support of people with visual impairments and complex disabilities. 

Focus Birmingham’s low vision services are well respected and we provide teaching and training to several external institutions. These include:

  • Optometry Degree at Aston University
  • Rehabilitation Course at Birmingham City University
  • Visual Rehabilitation Masters at German Jordanian University (Amman, Jordan)
  • The Association of British Dispensing Opticians professional examinations

We can deliver bespoke low vision training suitable for optometrists, rehabilitation officers and mobility officers. In addition, we offer a sight-loss awareness programme which is intended to assist any staff working with people who are visually impaired.

If you would like to make an enquiry about our education and training services, please call us on 0121 478 5252.

Better Healthcare Access for people with visual impairment - Report published

Focus Birmingham worked in conjunction with local GP practices to identify and break down barriers experienced by people with visual impairment when accessing GP healthcare services.

A copy of the final report, which summarises our findings, can be downloaded here.

Changes that sight loss brings can have a significant impact on many areas of everyday life including affecting a patient’s ability to engage with their GP. We believe that people with sight loss face unintentional, but very real barriers when trying to access primary care. This may mean that people with VI:

  • are more reluctant to attend routine appointment
  • have poorer quality information to help them manage their health
  • neglect support, meaning chronic conditions worsen unnecessarily

Andrew Miller, said, Lead Optometrist at Focus Birmingham.” It has been really pleasing to see how keen the staff have been in trying to understand and support the needs of people with sight loss.”