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Launching the updated Certificate of Vision Impairment Form and Explanatory Notes for Ophthalmologists

 

Background

When a person’s sight loss reaches certain levels they are entitled, if consenting, to be certified as severely sight impaired or sight impaired by a Consultant Ophthalmologist. Certification should be seen as an opportunity for the patient to access support and services and not an end point. Certification of Visual Impairment became an NHS outcome measure/public health indicator for England in 2012.

From 17 August 2017, a new CVI form and accompanying Explanatory Notes for Ophthalmologists will replace those currently in use. The new forms can be found here.

The purpose of updating the CVI form

The aim is to make the CVI process more effective to ensure that people who are newly certified as sight impaired or severely sight impaired receive the support they need as soon as possible.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists together with RNIB highlighted that the Certificate of Vision Impairment form (CVI) required urgent updating as important information for patients such as the RNIB Helpline, Drivers Medical Branch of the DVLA are incorrect, preferred format options are outdated (e.g. tape and computer disk) and references to legislation are also outdated (e.g. the Equality Act has replaced the Disability Discrimination Act). It was also an opportune time to simplify the form and ensure that it captures the information to support people to receive appropriate help. A sub-group of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Professional Standards Committee was established to update the CVI form, raise awareness amongst Ophthalmologists and improve patient information and experience.

As a consequence of this, the updated CVI form will:

  • ensure all information is current and accurate
  • be simplified and collect only essential information
  • be easier and quicker for Ophthalmologists and Eye Clinic staff to complete
  • be one CVI form for all patients (adults and children)
  • provide better information to patients about sources of support

It is important that the updated CVI form and Explanatory Notes are embedded into hospital eye services, local authorities and the voluntary sector to ensure it is successful in achieving these objectives

The aims of certification:

  1. To let the person’s resident local authority know about their circumstances so that they can make contact to identify any help the person might need with day-to-day tasks.
  2. To act as a mechanism of referral to the person’s resident local authority so that, if they consent, they can be registered with their local authority as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind).
  3. To provide epidemiological information about the causes of sight loss to helps the NHS to identify any trends in certain eye conditions and help with planning services.
  4. To act as a gateway to enable the person to access information and support.

Key Information

Over 20,000 people each year are certified as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. There are over 360,000 people in England, including 47,000 veterans, who are sight impaired or severely sight impaired and these numbers are set to increase.

There are around 25,000 children and young people aged 0-16 whose sight loss is of sufficient severity to affect their education and learning. Sight loss presents different challenges for children, and severe vision impairment has a major impact on development and the acquisition of fundamental skills. Specialist support is vital to minimise the risk of adverse outcomes and promote successful transition to adulthood.

Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs)/Sight Loss Advisors, local authorities, and specialist voluntary organisations can help people living with sight loss, and the sooner they intervene the better to promote independence and support people to remain in their own homes and local communities for as long as possible.

 

 

RNIB

Read more: How common is sight loss?

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