February is Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month, a month to raise awareness of all things RP.

RP is an degenerative visual impairment which involves the rapid loss of eyesight
People with visual impairments are amongst the least active  due to the barriers they experience in accessing and engaging with activity
Our founder and Managing Director, Ben Andrews, has RP and wanted to share some ways in which these barriers could be reduced.
So, here’s three ways places can #DoItDifferently to support healthy, active lives for those with RP.

First up, lighting

Whether it be the leisure centre car park, outdoor pitches or inside activity venues, it’s important to get lighting right for people with RP
This can be tricky as people with RP have both night blindness and light sensitivity
Usually, if a person has significant issues with light sensitivity, they’ll have other ways to manage this such as the use of dark glasses or shades.
But there’s little that can be done to manage night blindness which means it’s harder for people to see in dark and dull lighting.
With this is mind, ensure your activity spaces, both outside and inside, are well lit to support people with RP to get around safely.

Next up, glare

For many people with RP, what’s supposed to be the most welcoming part of an activity venue or centre can often be the most unwelcoming. I’m of course speaking about reception desks.
Reception desks guarded by plastic or glass can cause issues for people with RP because of the glare they emit.
This means people with RP often struggle to see the staff member on the others side resulting in some awkward and uncomfortable interactions.
Where possible, reception desks should be open; glass, plastic and glare free.

And, finally, peripheral vision

Another symptom of RP is that your sight narrows over time. This is called tunnel vision and might be imagined as though you’re looking through binoculars.
Even for those not yet affected this drastically will still have lower levels of peripheral vision.
This means that anything below, above, and at the side of your direct eye line become difficult to see.
Considering this, it’s important to make sure activity area floors and spaces are clutter and there’s nothing hanging overhead that might cause accidents or injury to those with RP.
Learn more about Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month here.
And if you’re an organisation that wants to #DoItDifferently to support healthy, active lives for disabled people but need a bit of help, get in touch here.