Changes to the new Certificate for Vision Impairment (CVI) form will make it easier for blind and partially sighted people to access support and services in England.

The Department of Health updated the CVI form with the support of Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and other organisations [1].

The CVI is the legal document which classifies people as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. The new form will provide local authorities with clear information about people who have significant and permanent sight loss. It will mean the approximately 23,000 people a year who are certified with serious permanent sight loss should receive better support.

The updated CVI form:

  • ensures all information is current and accurate
  • is simplified and collects only essential information
  • is easier and quicker for ophthalmologists and eye clinic staff, including eye clinic liaison officers (ECLOs) [2], to complete
  • is one CVI form for all patients (adults and children) and
  • provides better information to patients about sources of support.

New explanatory notes have been written to support ophthalmologists and eye clinic staff to complete the CVI form [3].

Fazilet Hadi, Deputy Chief Executive of RNIB, said:

“It has been a tremendous patient and sector-wide effort to achieve ministerial sign off of a new CVI form and guidance for England.

“RNIB is very proud of this achievement because the new form is one that patients can understand and the new process puts patients in control.

“For the first time, Department of Health guidance makes it crystal clear eye clinic staff, including ECLOs, have a role in completing this form and ophthalmologists are asked to refer patients who need support to them.”

Nick Wilson-Holt, Chair of CVI Working Group and member of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said:

“The new form is not only easier to complete by consultant ophthalmologists but provides them flexibility in their professional judgement, whether to certify a person as sight impaired or severely sight impaired and therefore receive the right services for their needs.”

Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:

“We are pleased to support this new CVI form, which reflects innovation and best practice to help increase the independence and choice of blind and partially sighted people who will be able to access support services more quickly.

“We are confident this more streamlined and simplified approach will have an immediate positive impact on people’s experience and the work of adult social services.”

[1] The following organisations were also involved in updating the new CVI form:

Certifications Office, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, NHS England, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Health and Social Services Welsh Government, Health and Social Care Board Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Government.

[2] Eye clinic liaison officers (ECLOs) work closely with medical and nursing staff based in the eye clinic, and the sensory team in social services. They provide those recently diagnosed with an eye condition with the practical and emotional support which they need to understand their diagnosis, deal with their sight loss and maintain their independence.

[3] The new CVI form and explanatory notes are available from:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-published-on-registering-a-vision-impairment-as-a-disability/

RNIB has written FAQs about the CVI form changes for eye health professionals, eye clinic staff, and volunteers providing support in eye clinics and is available here: www.rnib.org.uk/changes-certificate-vision-impairment-form-england-professionals

FAQs for patients about the CVI form changes is available here:

www.rnib.org.uk/changes-certificate-vision-impairment-form-england-patients

 

If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk.