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90% of attendees at CVI workshops would consider modifying their practice

17 March 2015

Over 90% of ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses who attended certification workshops would consider or plan to modify their practice regarding certification of people with sight loss

An evaluation report into the impact of Certificate of Vision Impairment training workshops, found that 91% of attendees were committed to considering or planning to modify their practice as a result. The series of training workshops were delivered across England to ophthalmologists and their ophthalmic team colleagues to improve understanding of the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) and how the support it enables people to receive can be life-changing.

The programme of workshops were organised by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, RNIB, UK Vision Strategy and VISION 2020 UK to highlight the importance of ophthalmologists and their teams working proactively with patients with sight loss to certify them as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind) using the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI).

The workshops aimed to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to gain insight into the CVI process and available support, a greater understanding of the distinction between registration and certification, the role of the consultant ophthalmologist and other Hospital Eye Services (HES) team members in relation to the CVI process. The sessions also demonstrated the Adult Sight Loss Pathway and how it works on a local basis.

The workshops achieved success in improving eye healthcare teams’ knowledge of the certification and registration process, the important role of the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer and the benefits of referring patients to support services.

Attendees commented on listening to patients describe their experience of sight loss, ‘Excellent topic for a teaching session as we do not normally address the patient’s perspective and the intricacies of CVI and blind registration is often assumed to be common knowledge.’

Barriers and key areas for improvement were also identified, with the guidelines for the CVI being one major cause for concern and inconsistency amongst HES because there is no clear guidance on how to approach patients who were considered ‘borderline’.

Richard Wormald, leading consultant surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and a member of RCOphth, who delivered many of the workshops, proposed a solution, saying: “Being certified and registered as sight impaired can be life changing for many patients and they describe the help they receive at this time as vital to enabling them to regain their independence. As ophthalmologists we need to ensure we approach the certification process as a ‘prescription for further support for patients’ rather than the ‘end of the road for their treatment’.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, RNIB, UK Vision Strategy and VISION 2020 UK will continue to work together to raise awareness of the importance of the Certificate of Vision Impairment which is a vital catalyst to providing much needed support for patients at a particularly emotionally distressing time.

The Certificate of Vision Impairment information, including full reports can be found in professional resources.

Notes to Editors


1The Certification and Registration Processes: Stages, barriers and delays. July 2012. Dr Tammy Boyce. 
Supporting CVI workshop materials:

A CVI information poster is available for eye clinics to display in their waiting rooms to encourage patients to ask for more information about certification, registration and support services and includes contact information for internal eye clinic support, or other local support services available from RNIB.

For free copies of the CVI information poster, please contact: Patricia Birch, RNIB Evidence & Service Impact Department Administrator, 020 7874 1308

Videos explaining the benefits of CVI:

  • Video 1 explains the benefits for the patient and also the ease in which consultants can fill out the form
  • Video 2 shows the patient perspective and how the opportunities and support by ECLO and the resulting social services benefits make such a difference to his life.

The UK Vision Strategy (UKVS) is a united cross-sector initiative to improve eye health and sight loss services across the UK. Over 650 individuals and organisations have played a direct role in creating the Strategy.  The Strategy was developed in response to the World Assembly’s VISION 2020 resolution which aims to reduce avoidable sight loss by the year 2020.

For more information, please contact: Jess Brice, UK Vision Strategy Communications Officer, jessica.brice    Direct line: 02078741364

VISION 2020 UK is an umbrella organisation which facilitates greater collaboration and co-operation within the UK sight loss sector.  VISION 2020 UK is a supporting member of the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. More information can be found at:

About RNIB

Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and we’re here for everyone affected by sight loss – that’s almost 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit