22 March 2023

Patients 'going blind' due to NHS backlog

We are saddened to read reports that hundreds of patients have lost their sight completely, or had it irreparably damaged because of NHS backlogs in England.

No patient should have to wait so long for an appointment that they risk preventable sight loss

We know our members can help with this problem, and this is what we are doing about it: 

We have launched our workforce vision to champion and support optometrists as key health professionals who are preserving vision and preventing sight loss. We are currently collaborating with organisations across the eye care sector on a workforce data modelling project which will support policy makers and commissioners in planning to respond to the growing demand for eye care, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

We have worked with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists to develop a joint vision for the delivery of safe and sustainable eye care services. The joint vision encourages ambitious, co-ordinated and collaborative eye care services across the whole sector, at pace and that provides equitable access for all patients, no matter where they live or what their circumstances may be.

We, along with other organisations in the sector, are urging commissioners to take advantage of the full range of clinical expertise and infrastructure optometrists in primary eye care have to offer. 

We hope that these combined efforts will provide a robust eye care framework that curbs the number of people experiencing avoidable sight loss. 

Related further reading

It is rare for respiratory viruses to cause eye infections, writes Kim Thomas, but they may use the eye as a portal of entry. And what is the mechanism behind their travel to the respiratory system?

How do clinicians choose between generic and branded drugs, balancing the need for patient safety against cost? Kathy Oxtoby takes a look.

The College’s Clinical Editor, Jane Veys MCOptom, on the gaps that exist in practice and between people