21 February 2024

RNIB launches innovative framework for low vision care

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched a new framework to support low vision clinics.

In collaboration with sight impaired and severely sight impaired people, as well as a cross-sector group of specialists, including the College of Optometrists, The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched a groundbreaking new framework to support low vision clinics in providing best-practice care.

The Low Vision Framework, and accompanying Good Practice guidelines, represent an important step change in providing inclusive, patient-centred support and care for patients with low vision: throughout the care pathway.

They were formally unveiled at the RNIB's state-of-the-art Low Vision Centre, in the charity’s headquarters at the Grimaldi Building in London on Tuesday 21 February.

Louise Gow is RNIB’s Clinical Lead for Eye Health, Optometry and Low Vision Services. She says:

“It is crucial to ensure the unique needs of blind and partially sighted people, as well as those awaiting or receiving a diagnosis of a sight-threatening condition, are fully understood and addressed.

“RNIB is delighted to launch the Adult Low Vision Service Quality Framework. The development of this framework is a culmination of years of collaborative work with our cross-sector partners. The ten-part framework sets out the criteria agreed as a group which reflect high quality care in the provision of a low vision service. The framework and accompanying guidelines can be used by all models of low vision service as a benchmark with which to evaluate the care they provide. It can also be used by commissioners and service providers when setting up a new service.”

Increasingly, optometrists are providing delivery of diagnostics and treatments in primary care settings, to reduce the burden on hospital eyecare services.

Louise continues:

“The Low Vision Framework is embedded within RNIB’s wider work on the Eye Care Support Pathway, which details why we need to integrate non-clinical support into existing eye care pathways. This was launched in conjunction with our sector partners at the end of last year. 

“We would like to extend our gratitude to the College of Optometrists, and the individual College members that were involved, for their support in the development of this vital piece of work. Their expert advice, both from a clinical and policy perspective, has been crucial in ensuring that the final criteria set out are robust, yet achievable for low vision services across the UK.”

The RNIB has also created valuable training resources for staff, and has established referral routes from optometry, in order to enhance the overall experience for patients.

Clinical Adviser at the College of Optometrists, Denise Voon, was involved with the development of the framework and the accompanying resources.

She says:

The RNIB’s Adult Low Vision Service Quality Framework, and its associated training resources, are a fantastic way to enhance the low vision services in the UK, which is essential for better patient care for people with sight loss.”

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