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

The virtual Hospital Eye Service experience replaces the in-person experience pre-registration trainees would normally have gained in a hospital setting.

The virtual Hospital Eye Service experience replaces the in-person experience pre-registration trainees would normally have gained in a hospital setting.

This study reports on an audit carried out in the emergency eye care (EEC) service at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.