Daniel Williams

Founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy, U.K.


UK based Daniel Williams of Visualise Training and Consultancy shares a low vision patient’s perspective on how services and the patient experience can be improved.

What more can be done for Susan?

To better illustrate as to how a timely intervention can lead to a better quality of patient care, let’s look at the following three case studies:

  1. A man is diagnosed with a condition that is resulting in a gradual loss of eyesight. As someone who has worked in a busy office environment for more than twenty-years, he experiences anxiety and feels a mounting sense of hopelessness, asserting that he may not be able to do his job.
  2. The optometrist refers him to a national charity for talking support, and financial support for work related expenses. A few weeks later, the patient has started a course of counselling, and the work financing scheme has assessed his needs within his workplace and, along with his employer, has installed screen magnification and screen reading software to allow him to continue his job. If these referrals had not have taken place, the patient may have suffered emotionally, left his job unnecessarily.
  3. A patient has little vision left. A keen sportsman and former soldier, he finds his mental health dipping, experiencing a sense of loss and motivation. The optometrist refers him to a specialist who can better deal with his symptoms. But this is only part of the story; the optometrist realises that sport and exercise promote a positive mental state, so he refers the patient to charities that work with former military personnel and sports people. He then gets the opportunity to exercise and socialise and along with the clinical and surgical intervention, he soon begins to feel more positive. Six months down the line, he feels able to participate in mainstream sport and has a social life, things that most people take for granted, but are vitally important.

These three snapshots give you an idea of the power of referrals and the importance of slightly lateral thinking. However, I am acutely aware that consultations have time limitations and practices have limited resources and constraints. These factors should not get in the way of your moral and ethical duty of care you have for your patients. It is therefore important to consider giving certain patients more consultation time to explore choices. It can be argued that equality laws would support a patient’s right to having a little more time with you. This said, the process takes time, so in some cases delegation would be wise and sensible. The optical technician, optical assistant, dispensing optician or receptionist could help make sure your patient has the information in a format he or she can access, and fully understand what support is available.

If a non-medical referral doesn’t take place, a patient may find him/herself in a hospital where an eye clinic support worker is in place. If this is the case, the patient’s needs may be better understood.

So, if we were to design a utopian world, what would it look like?

Let’s take two scenarios:

  1. A totally blind person has a routine examination to measure eye pressure. The check complete, instead of shaking hands and saying goodbye after 10 minutes, the consultant or optometrist asks how he is feeling. The patient has an opportunity to be honest – maybe they say that they are feeling low or depressed. Perhaps they allude to the fact that they don’t have a social life. The doctor or optometrist can make a number of referrals to local and national organisations to address the issues. This proactive approach means that the patient will have the opportunity to get proper and meaningful help, so his quality of life can be improved.
  2. A partially sighted woman is in your examination room. As she has useful eyesight and has exhibited a number of worries and concerns, you give her a little more time. Your conversation reveals anxiety relating to certain daily tasks. You offer her a full explanation and demonstration of how to correctly administer eye drops, an outline of the services she may be able to access and verbally give her some advice. You provide her with literature in electronic format; snappily written, easy to read notes. As there are a number of agencies who can support her, you delegate, and a colleague makes the referrals. You encourage her to make an appointment to look at low vision aids, and in a few weeks she is empowered by a mixture of technology, optics and knowledge.

Sometimes eyesight cannot be saved. Some people may lose some, a lot or all their eyesight. Whilst life will inevitably become more challenging, in some cases much more difficult because of a number of factors that I won’t go into here, there is no reason why a full and meaningful life cannot be enjoyed. As a medical professional, it is your instinct to preserve and save, to do what you can, to employ drugs or surgery to mend somebody’s eyes. When you can’t do that, you may feel you have failed, you may feel disappointed or even sad. You may even feel a complex cocktail of emotions. Your training and experience may lead you towards a sense of negativity, and you may analyse the case, internalise it and even question yourself. But there is far more you can do than save eyesight as you could change someone’s life in a real and meaningful way. You can help change, mend, and save someone’s life by thinking away from medicine and optics, and towards the whole person. Sometimes, seemingly insignificant things change lives; the opportunity to talk to someone who truly empathises and understands, the ability to read, be it in large print, audio or Braille. The chance to make a cup of tea safely, or to do the washing without fear of mixing colours. The chance to train again, to compete again, to act again, to feel like a fully functioning, important member of the family and society. Referrals can help these things happen. If everyone does their job, referrals can profoundly change lives.

Rehabilitation, mobility, and the learning of skills is vital and with a little knowledge, you can make sure that when a patient leaves your consulting room or practice, they take more with them then a pair of glasses, they take hope and knowledge.


Read Part – 1





I founded Visualise Training and Consultancy with help from The Prince’s Trust as having experienced gradual sight loss, I wanted to advance social change for disability rights by campaigning and advocating for inclusion, equality and diversity.

As a qualified eye clinic liaison officer and rehabilitation assistant and with the help of my guide dog Zodiac, I carry out workplace needs assessments and web accessibility audits throughout the UK to support employees with visual impairments. I also deliver training sessions that educate staff to better assist clients or customers with disabilities and have worked with over 700 organisations across all sectors. When employees are ‘Disability Confident’, inclusion becomes business as usual for everyone involved leading to increased job satisfaction and a more rewarding environment.

Currently I’m delivering ‘Seeing Beyond the Eyes’ CET workshops across the UK to foster closer links between the optical and sight loss sectors to benefit patients and improvements are happening daily.

In a voluntary capacity, I’m on the RNIB Working Age and Transitions steering groups which assess work related challenges blind and partially sighted people face. I’m also a Young Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and sit on their Business Launch panels, helping other young people to start their own enterprises. I was recently appointed as a member of the College of Optometrists’ Public Patients Reference Group (PPRG) which gains input from patients and the public to their policies, guidance, and patient resources.

At the beginning, sight loss feels like the end but later you realise it’s just the start of seeing in a different way and having a new outlook on life. Overcoming my challenges has given me resilience, determination and the ambition needed to be successful.

If you’d like to know more about how your organisation can become more Disability Confident, feel free to email me at daniel@visualisetrainingandconsultancy.co.uk



Useful information


In the UK, Visualise Training and Consultancy has developed a resource pack for professionals to make it quick and easy for UK Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians to refer their patients for support.

To download your free copy, please visit


Perhaps you could develop a similar one in your country?

Visualise also provides an e-learning course to equip eyecare professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to empower low vision patients to access vital support and services.

Find out more at


Daniel Williams is the Founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy which works towards inclusion, accessibility and equality for all, providing CET eyecare professionals.



Dan on Social Media




A Trip to the Eye Clinic video


Daniel’s sight loss journey – living with retinitis pigmentosa video