Better data, better care was compiled through research and discussion within the ophthalmic public health sector. A workshop of optometrists, ophthalmologists and other representatives from the sector studied a review of the available literature on ophthalmic public health data, and the findings of the review and the discussions from the workshop led to the report.


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It is impossible to deliver patient centred care without data and information on health and social care. Ophthalmic public health data, as collected by optometrists, ophthalmologists and other clinicians have a key role in improving care and ensuring that care is appropriate for the population and is good value. 

The government’s vision is to record and collect high-quality data for the purpose of improving care, to do so electronically, and to share it appropriately. The government has also said that the NHS number should be used consistently as a patient identifier, and that more information on clinical outcomes is needed.

To accomplish this, the government believes that a step change among health professionals is needed to ensure that all health and social care professionals understand that information is core to good quality care and that they take responsibility for recording, sharing and using information to improve care. All professional staff must become aware of the link between the data they record and improvements to patient care.

Current status of data

Although significant amounts of data are currently collected through the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) claims, these are not designed for ophthalmic public health work, and therefore do not provide the data that are needed for good decisions. 
The mechanisms for collecting data and the quality of data are similar in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the analysis in this report encompasses all three countries. Scotland’s arrangements for data collection are different and are addressed separately in the report. 


The quality of ophthalmic public health data is mixed. The public health indicator on eyes and the certificates of vision impairment (CVI) data on which it is based is a positive measure and should be supported. Where possible, however, the sector should continue to seek improvements to the CVI process to ensure the long term success of the public health indicator on eyes.

Beyond the CVI process and the indicator, there is much work to be done. There are many challenges to improving ophthalmic public health data, including developing IT systems to improve data collection and working with optometrists and other clinicians to ensure they are doing their part to improve the quality of data.

The College will continue to work with others in the eye care sector to support the public health indicator, to improve IT systems and review the data collected, and to further educate our members about how they can contribute to improved ophthalmic public health data. Robust data will help ensure that eye care is patient centred and meets the public’s need, is of good quality, and provides value for money.

Download the report

Download the full report below for further details, including recommendations:


Other resources of interest