Visual Impairment

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th July 2018.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to improve the quality of emotional and practical support made available on the NHS to patients with poor eye health.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government fully appreciates the impact poor eye health can have on a person’s life and the importance of emotional and practical support available particularly for those newly diagnosed with sight loss.

There is a range of support available for those with visual impairments. Individuals certified as severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted) have access to help and support from the point of diagnosis which may include referral to specialist low vision clinics.

Many hospitals have Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, or similar early intervention support staff, who work closely with medical and nursing staff in eye clinics. They provide directly or can sign post patients to the practical and other support they need to understand their diagnosis, deal with their sight loss and maintain their independence.

Patients certified as having sight impairment are then able to register with their local authority (LA). The LA will then carry out an assessment of the individual’s needs. The support from the National Health Service and local authorities is in addition to the important additional support provided from charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People and Guide Dogs.

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