Sharing Henshaws Knowledge at a European sight loss conference

Last week we were invited to share Henshaws Knowledge at a sight loss conference hosted by The University of Manchester.

It was organised by the European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ESLRR), who asked us to deliver a lecture on the Knowledge Village. Read on to find out the 7 Apps Mark demonstrated to the delegates as his top choices for increasing independence in people with sight loss.

We thought it would be good to share the day with everyone so we’ll let Mark tell you more about what was delivered to the delegates..

The sight loss conference audience was made up of research fellows, dispensing opticians, ophthalmologists, specialist rehabilitation professionals and the like. It kicked off with an hour lecture delivered by Debbie Cowley (Head of Content) and myself (Mark, the bloke on our Knowledge Village videos). We gave them an overview of Henshaws, our award winning ‘Pathway to Independence’ and our services generally.

The main reason we were asked to attend was to explain in detail our Digital Enablement Service and our Knowledge Village; how they were developed and how they are helping.

The session covered a brief overview of Henshaws services, statistical information, both qualitative and quantitative, professional testimonials and of course our videos. We wanted to communicate how our Knowledge Village can help them as professionals, after the event and beyond.

After a quick break, the audience went on to the second part of our session. Myself and my Digital Enablement Team delivered four 30-minute practical workshops, where the delegates could explore different solutions to the day to day obstacles people with sight loss face.

Mark using an iPhone connected to a large screen TV and his laptop, at the ESLRR conference.

My session covered Apps. Some of them developed specifically with sight loss in mind, and some not. I didn’t make it easy for myself as I delivered ‘live’ third party demos using Be My Eyes and Aira, and took fate in my hands by relying on my 3G network; the God’s were kind though and in the main I got away with it! So, these are the apps I delivered on the day, chosen by me as some of the best solutions to support people with sight loss increase their independence.

Be My Eyes logo1. Be My Eyes is a free mobile app designed to bring support to the blind and visually impaired. The app establishes a live video connection between visually impaired users and sighted volunteers and has over 2.2 million users across 150 countries.

Aira logo2. Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. Through an app on your smartphone, or through an optional pair of Horizon Smart Glasses, Aira delivers instant access to visual information at the touch of a button.

Soundscape logo3. Microsoft Soundscape is a free app that helps visually impaired people navigate their surroundings. The app, launched in the UK on iPhone and iOS, provides information about your environment with synthesised binaural audio, creating the effect of 3D sound.

Seeing AI logo4. Microsoft Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you, harnessing the power of AI. This fantastic app incorporates 9 separate features; short text, documents, products, person, scene, currency, light, colour and handwriting.

Tile logo5. Tile is a company which produces devices to help users find their belongings, such as keys and phones. The devices use bluetooth and work with a companion mobile app for Android and iOS, which allows users to pinpoint the location of lost items.

Stay on route logo6. Stay On Route is an app that has been created to improve train journeys. It’s function is to alert the user when their station is approaching, enabling them to get off at the right station.  The app uses location services to track the phones position relative to the selected station.

Aira sight loss simulator logo7. Aira’s Sight Loss Simulator is an app that describes and simulates common eye conditions through the use of the phone’s camera and special filters. Currently the app supports 14 diseases including Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma.


Big thanks to the European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation for inviting us along to their sight loss conference. The sessions were great and the delegates very interested in the work we do at Henshaws and with the Knowledge Village. They all signed up that day to receive our monthly Knowledge Village email, with all the latest content. If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? You can do so here. 

If you want to find out more about our Digital Assessments then get in touch on 0300 222 555 or email

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