Sleep shades are used in training sighted guiders.
Sleep shades are a tool used to block out all light in order to simulate blindness for sighted individuals. Blind Veterans UK often use them in training with staff and volunteers so that they can experience for a short while, what is it is like every day for blind veterans. The objective of this is not simply so that staff and volunteers can empathise with the people they support, but it also helps in sighted guider training.
A sighted guider is someone who is trained to guide a blind person and has been made aware of how to effectively accompany someone who is visually impaired; informing them of obstacles such as stairs, objects and other people. For all staff and volunteers at Blind Veterans UK, sighted guider training is essential for safely engaging with blind veterans during work and at events. It is important that the visually impaired person feels safe and supported by their companion. For sighted individuals it can be hard to imagine how scary life can be without sight but sleep shades aid them in developing this empathy.
In 2010, Prince William came to visit the site that would then become our centre at Llandudno. He participated in a variety of activites under sleep shades, including blind archery! He also used specially modified glasses which simulate various eye conditions including glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.