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Macular Society
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ESA medical assessment

Hi I’m new here as well. I’m 60 years old and was diagnosed with wet AMD in both eyes over 6 years ago. I also have early stages glaucoma and due to a recent fall I now have posterior vitreous detachment in what was the better of my eyes. I had finish working in April this year due to my sight loss and was able to claim contribution based ESA. I have now got a medical assessment just after Christmas and I was wondering if anyone had any experience of the assessment. One of the things I will be asked apparently is if I can read 16 point text, which I can’t but could I with a magnifier I’m not sure. RNIB say in their info. give examples as to when it wouldn’t be practical to use a medical - any ideas? I would be grateful for any advice as I’m worried that by stressing about this assessment it is going to spoil my Christmas.

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Hi there I had my ESA assessment at the end of November this is your first claim yes? Did you fill the form out yourself ?

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Mine was sight related so basically they just wanted to know if I could read Braille in the conventional way which I can’t ( no by touch) I am in the ‘support group’ basically. They only ask about your main condition so not about any other illnesses even if you have put them down on your form. You may have a simple sight test. My appointment was 30 mins long.

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Thank you. I was worried that they would put me in the work related group or say I was fit for work even though I had to finish work because I could no longer see to carry out my job accurately, safely or compkete duties within my role because I couldn’t see computer screen etc. even with the help of various aids


I had help initially from RNIB who arranged for someone from DWP to come to house to help me complete firm. I found PIP assessment quite daunting even though I put on a brave face but that went against me because they said I was very confident! I perhaps come across as being confident because I have spent all my working life dealing with professional people but I’m actually quite a shy person who has had her confidence severely knocked by lack of vision. You try to keep your independence as best you can and this again goes against you. How did you get on with assessment and was your due to a sight related problem.


Hi, I helped my brother in law with his application ( condition not sight related) - I found the Dr nice but you really have to spell it out for them, don't assume they will infer anything. Seeing isn't just about reading so don't forget the impact on other things.

In your case re magnifiers I would list anything where you need two hands ie not one free to hold magnifier and not possible to have freestanding magnifier. Such as:

Putting in / taking food out of oven safely

Up a ladder decorating or changing light bulb or getting something off high shelf, or changing curtains for washing

Cleaning kitchen and bathroom, dusting, putting the refuse bins out


Anywhere you'd have to hold a torch to illuminate an area

Some things a magnifier isn't useful for - eg Reading shop aisle or street signs or avoiding tripping over broken pavement/obstacles etc and seeing where steps are. Dressing can be awkward and sorting laundry.

I bet the Macular Society can offer you some good ideas.

Best of luck, and if you don't get the result you expect always appeal. I did for my brother in law and my appeal was upheld ( the Dr assessment is subject to interpretation by an office bod some of which simply follow a tick list ie they said because he could push a button he could get a job but my brother in law has severe brain damage and no short term memory!).

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Thank you that helps a lot.

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Dear mellan,

Please contact us direct on the Macular Society helpline. There is some information that we can send you that may be useful.

Are you registered as sight impaired? If not, it would be worth contacting your ophthalmologist’s secretary and asking if you meet the criteria for registration. They may need to see you again before making a decision on this. However, if you do meet the criteria then it is the ophthalmologist who completes the forms on your behalf and sends them off. I am copying a link to our Registering booklet below:


In terms of your ESA medical assessment, it is important that you make it clear that you are unable to read 16 point text. If you currently do not have the use of a magnifier which allows you to read it then you must not assume that one would allow you to.

It is important that you take someone with you when you attend the assessment.

The following may be of some help:


The Macular Society helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 0300 3030 111.

Alternately, you can contact us via:


Kind regards,


Thank you I have emailed yourselves.


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