Sight and hearing

Sight and eye care

Deteriorating sight may seem inevitable, but you should have a check-up with your optician every year. Ask your doctor about eye problems as some conditions can be treated.

NHS Kensington and Chelsea has lists of local opticians who offer NHS services and details of opticians who can visit you if you cannot get out. Older people are entitled to free NHS eye tests.

If you are on Income Support NHS treatment is free. If you are not, but your income and savings are low you may qualify for free treatment. To apply, call the Benefits Helpline on 0844 415 3905 and request form HC1.

Some levels of sight loss qualify you to be registered as blind or partially sighted. Benefits include advice on dealing with sight loss, special equipment and help claiming financial benefits. To check if you can register, ask your doctor to refer you to an eye specialist.

Macular degeneration

Is an eye condition that can affect older adults and results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field. It can make it difficult, or sometimes impossible, to read or recognise faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. It affects people in different ways and at different rates.

For more information, help and support, contact the Macular Disease Society

Phone: 01264 350551
Helpline: 0843 2412041


Affects about two out of every 100 people in the UK who are over 40. It's important to have your eyes tested regularly. If left untreated it can cause blindness. However, if it's diagnosed and treated early enough, further damage to your vision can be prevented.

More information visit the glaucoma pages on the NHS Choices website


A cataract is a clouding of part of the eye - vision becomes blurred because the cataract is like a frosted glass. Many people over 60 have some cataract and the vast majority can be treated successfully. 

There is more information about cataracts on the RNIB website and the NHS Choices website

Getting support

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Outreach Service provides advice and support for people living in the borough who suffer from sight loss.
Phone: 020 7388 1266
Helpline: 0303 123 9999
Fax: 020 7388 2034

Download the booklet Services for people who are blind or partially sighted in Kensington and Chelsea (PDF) (file size 170kb) or contact social services for a copy on 020 7361 3013 or email

Contact social services for advice and information about special equipment that may be available. Call the social services line on 020 7361 3013 or email

Hearing loss

If you are having trouble hearing tell your doctor who can arrange a hearing test for you.

For further advice about hearing problems contact the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)
Phone: 020 7296 8000/8001
Fax: 020 7296 8199

The Hearing Aid Centre provides hearing tests for the fitting and repair of NHS hearing aids.
Phone: 020 8846 6011

Action Disability Kensington and Chelsea also provides support for people with sensory impairments who live in the borough.
Phone: 020 8960 8888
Minicom: 020 8964 8066
Fax: 020 8960 8282

Contact social services for advice and information about special equipment that may be available. Call the social services line on 020 7361 3013 or email