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CVI has been updated – important changes for all ophthalmologists to be aware of

17 August 2017

Working in partnership with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, RNIB and others, the Department of Health (England) has updated the Certificate of Vision Impairment form and revised the Explanatory Notes for consultant ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff in England.

Key objectives have been:

  • To simplify the form, collecting only essential information
  • To make it easier and quicker for ophthalmologists and eye clinic staff to complete
  • To have a single CVI form for both adults and children
  • To provide better information to patients and their carers about sources of support

For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it has been acknowledged that the previous ‘work test’ is no longer relevant or appropriate, and the criteria for certification, based on visual acuity and visual field have been clarified in the Explanatory Notes, emphasising importantly that these are for guidance only.

This allows consultant ophthalmologists flexibility in their professional judgement whether to certify a person as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. The Notes also explicitly remind doctors of their duty to take action where patients continue to drive when they are not safe to do so.

The updated CVI form for Wales was published in September 2016, the form for England in August 2017 and the updated form for Northern Ireland is to follow.

The College encourages all ophthalmologists to familiarise themselves and their teams with the revised guidance, to use only the updated form and to destroy stocks of the old form.