Medicine with a visual impairment

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Adam78856
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#1
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Hi, I want to study medicine but have a visual impairment meaning I have reduced vision which is not treatable Could I still study medicine. I am particularly talking about the clinical aspect. Is there anyway I can be supported?
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becausethenight
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Hey, your uni and future employer should be able to make reasonable adjustments so that you can study and practice! You will probably want to check that with them before you apply, so you can get the support you need.

Here, you can read about an amazing young woman, Alexandra Adams, who became the UK's first deafblind medical student: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/doc...edical-student
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Adam78856
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Thank you!! But the universities I have contacted have said that I don’t meet the GMC requirements. I don’t know if there is anything else I can do.
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Thank you!! But the universities I have contacted have said that I don’t meet the GMC requirements. I don’t know if there is anything else I can do.
Did they specify which requirements you don’t meet? It seems odd that a blind doctor could practice but not a visually impaired one...
You could always contact more universities, I suppose.
Democracy and ecolier are both doctors, and might be able to advise more on what GMC requirements you might not meet etc?
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ecolier
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Hi, I want to study medicine but have a visual impairment meaning I have reduced vision which is not treatable Could I still study medicine. I am particularly talking about the clinical aspect. Is there anyway I can be supported?
I know several medical students with visual impairment. You'll not be disadvantaged at med schools but obviously depending on the impairment there may be some specialties that you may not be able to train in.
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Democracy
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Thank you!! But the universities I have contacted have said that I don’t meet the GMC requirements. I don’t know if there is anything else I can do.
In what way?

There isn't a blanket policy on visual impairment (or any other physical or mental health condition).

From the GMC website:

No health condition or disability by virtue of its diagnosis automatically prohibits an individual from studying or practising medicine.

Having a health condition or disability alone is not a fitness to practise concern. We look at the impact a health condition is having on the person’s ability to practise medicine safely, which will be unique for each case.


https://www.gmc-uk.org/education/sta...ty-in-medicine

junior.doctor - any thoughts?
Last edited by Democracy; 2 years ago
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username5234680
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Im blind. Along with having other conditions could i do medicine?
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username4910484
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(Original post by Computerbot212)
Im blind. Along with having other conditions could i do medicine?
I don't know any of the technicalities behind it, but there are some blind people that have managed to study medicine. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc...wales-48138311
https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/doc...edical-student
She also has a twitter account, but I can't link it in due to TSR rules.
Last edited by username4910484; 2 years ago
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sammyj97
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Yes

https://youtu.be/p2UiZIbFvc8
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physicsamor
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Yes you should be able to. Universities should accommodate this.
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2500_2
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(Original post by Computerbot212)
Im blind. Along with having other conditions could i do medicine?
This is the General Medical Council's info on supporting medical students with disabilities https://www.gmc-uk.org/education/sta...med-and-valued
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PizzaMan2989
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This is a very stupid question but how does one type of they’re blind?
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bvbx
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(Original post by PizzaMan2989)
This is a very stupid question but how does one type of they’re blind?
Blind doesn't always mean you can't completely see.
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username5234680
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(Original post by PizzaMan2989)
This is a very stupid question but how does one type of they’re blind?
screen reader. i also use a magnifier since i still have a small amount of sight
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PizzaMan2989
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(Original post by bvbx)
Blind doesn't always mean you can't completely see.
Thank you
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PizzaMan2989
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(Original post by Computerbot212)
screen reader. i also use a magnifier since i still have a small amount of sight
Alright thank you
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Adam78856
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Vision – N6 near vision is needed to read the 1mm text on an ampoule. N8 near vision is needed to detect a 3mm needle movement. 6/18 distance acuity is required to read digital monitor at the head of bed during CPR. 6/18 and N8 are the threshold for seeking the opinion of an Occupational Physician. All acuities are with correction.

These are the visual requirements and Leicester university said they wouldn’t support me?
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username5234680
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Vision – N6 near vision is needed to read the 1mm text on an ampoule. N8 near vision is needed to detect a 3mm needle movement. 6/18 distance acuity is required to read digital monitor at the head of bed during CPR. 6/18 and N8 are the threshold for seeking the opinion of an Occupational Physician. All acuities are with correction.

These are the visual requirements and Leicester university said they wouldn’t support me?
i dont wven come close to those requirments i would need at least n24 n36 is better
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Vision – N6 near vision is needed to read the 1mm text on an ampoule. N8 near vision is needed to detect a 3mm needle movement. 6/18 distance acuity is required to read digital monitor at the head of bed during CPR. 6/18 and N8 are the threshold for seeking the opinion of an Occupational Physician. All acuities are with correction.

These are the visual requirements and Leicester university said they wouldn’t support me?
The GMC says nothing about those requirements, though, and clearly some blind/visually impaired people can practise despite that :confused:
It sounds like it might just be a university-specific requirement, but I don't know if that would be in breach of their requirement to provide disability support?

Democracy, ecolier, junior.doctor - thoughts?
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junior.doctor
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(Original post by Adam78856)
Vision – N6 near vision is needed to read the 1mm text on an ampoule. N8 near vision is needed to detect a 3mm needle movement. 6/18 distance acuity is required to read digital monitor at the head of bed during CPR. 6/18 and N8 are the threshold for seeking the opinion of an Occupational Physician. All acuities are with correction.

These are the visual requirements and Leicester university said they wouldn’t support me?
I'm surprised - these seem very strict requirements, and as has been said, I didn't think there were specific GMC requirements.

I'm a visually impaired doctor. I certainly don't meet those criteria when corrected. Most of my vision comes from one eye, so depth / distance / speed are challenging. I have minimal night vision. My corrected acuity is probably around 6/24, maybe 6/18+ on a very good day. I don't know that I've ever had my near vision quantified, but it's pretty terrible. I have normal fields. I've never been allowed to drive because of my VI.

I've found ways round things over time. No-one ever said I must stand at the foot of the bed and read the rhythm during CPR. I regularly lead (paeds) resus and I stand nearer to see the rhythm when I need to (I have to stand right in front of the monitor to see the rhythm. So I lead from the end of the bed, and when it's rhythm check time every 2 mins, I go over to the monitor, stand in front of it, announce the rhythm and then go back to my leader spot at the foot of the bed. Simples.) I manage to intubate and do central lines for extremely premature babies. I can squint and 'pinhole' my vision to intubate. I can bring things generally closer to eg cannulate, or read packets that I need to read. In this new age of electronic notes, I annoy the hell out of everyone else by making all the screen resolutions enormous on the ward computers Ironically, over the years (I've been qualified 12 years now) - I've been so determined that I was never going to say I couldn't do something due to my VI, that I practised so hard at things, that I'm actually quite a lot better at certain procedures that my more averagely-sighted colleagues.

Early on in my career, I had a few close shaves with occy health type people who seemed convinced that certain things would be impossible. So I tried to keep as low a profile as possible until I'd "proved" myself (I always answered occ health documents honestly though). Over time, the older I get and the more I feel I've proven that I CAN do my job, I'm a lot more outspoken about it. VI is a fairly hidden disability, people assume I can see computers / handovers on screens / monitors across a room, and I just tell them straight "remember I'm blind, I'll need to come closer / you'll have to make it bigger" etc.

I always knew from the outset that I would never be able to do certain specialties that involved detailed work (eg surgical specialties). But there are plenty of things that visually impaired medics can still do, and medical schools should be able to work with you on that. What does your ophthalmologist think? Mine wrote a report for occupational health (I had to undergo an occ health assessment) - and they mostly went on my ophthalmologist's opinion. in theory, the world of medicine has become a kinder and more inclusive place to us than it used to be. But there is still a way to go.

Practically, it might be worth contacting the GMC to see what they think of Leicester's requirements. Also, from what you'd written, those seem to be the thresholds to trigger an OH assessment, not necessarily write you off completely? Or did I misunderstand? There is no problem in having an OH assessment, I have had many.

Democracy thanks.
Last edited by junior.doctor; 2 years ago
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