Can optometrists step up with sight impairment certification?

14 November 2022
Autumn 2022

Adrian O’Dowd examines whether it is time for a change that will enable optometrists to certify patients as visually impaired.

As optometrists develop their skills, and the equipment they use in their places of work improves, what new roles could they take on? One question is whether optometrists should be allowed to certify people as sight impaired (SI) and severely sight impaired (SSI), something only carried out by consultant ophthalmologists.

It is estimated that more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss. Of these, around 340,000 people are registered as SI or SSI (NHS, 2022). It is thought that more than 24,000 people are certified as SI or SSI a year in England and Wales (RNIB, 2018).

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