Seeing Beyond The Eyes

Video: How can eyecare and sight loss professionals work better together ?

Sight loss and eyecare professionals are miles apart and need to urgently work better together to ensure patients with visual impairment receive timely support along their sight loss journey. Click below to watch the video…

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Seeing Beyond the Eyes – Working together to make things better for patients living with sight loss guide

A video supported by Thea Pharmaceuticals

The sight loss and eye care support sectors urgently need to connect and work together so that patients with visual impairments (VI) receive timely and efficient support at the point of suspected diagnosis and ongoing help to move forward with their lives.

There are currently 2 million people with sight loss in the UK which is expected to double by 2050 and every day 250 people start to lose their sight. So, now is the time to start working together if patients’ lives are to be improved.

Suggested Actions

1. Sight loss organisations

Some of the following suggestions apply to everyone in your team and beyond, from service users to receptionists and sight loss professionals to  CEOs, so please share far and wide as we all have the power to connect and improve services

  • Host open days and invite local eye care professionals to become volunteers
  • Visit practices and eye clinics to introduce the charity and leave leaflets or posters for display in waiting areas
  • Develop a simplistic referral process into your sight loss organisation
  • Connect with your local/regional optical committee (ROC/LOC) and ophthalmological society, attend their events and ask for your details to be added to their websites.
  • Seek to become part of Local Eye Health Networks (LEHN) *(England Only)
  • Encourage eye care professionals to subscribe to your newsletter and social media platforms
  • Hire your training rooms to the eye care sector
  • Develop a team of service users to become mystery shoppers to assess practices and provide feedback
  • Deliver training and provide tours of your resource centre at times when eye care professionals can attend which is generally after working hours.
  • Engage with allied health professionals including GPs, nurses, diabetic clinics, neurology, community falls/frailty and stroke teams.
  • Invite eye care professionals to join your board of trustees
  • Share news stories and press releases with optical media and connect/share on social media. i.e. Optician Magazine, Association of independent opticians, optometry today, primary health net, dispensing optics magazine

2. Eye Care and allied health professionals

Supporting people with visual impairments is everyone’s responsibility, from receptionists to qualified eye care professionals and decision-makers, so please share these suggestions with your whole team as together, we can improve services

  • Connect with your local/regional optical committee (ROC/LOC) and ophthalmological society to promote local/national sight loss support services on their website and social media
  • Visual Impairment Awareness Training for all staff
  • Additional CET sessions on low-vision topics
  • Display local and national sight loss support service leaflets in waiting areas
  • Download the Seeing Beyond the Eyes resource pack with all the charities and support organizations listed nationally.
  • Ensure your services and communications are accessible for all eg large print, digital, text, braille, phone calls
  • Encourage sight loss support services to have representation at eye care conferences, events and training sessions and invite patients with VI to share their sight loss journey stories
  • Eye care providers should have a dedicated area on websites providing information on sight loss support services for patients
  • Eye care providers and committees to fundraise for their local sight loss charity – great for staff team building and PR
  • All eye care provider staff to visit local sight loss charity to learn about their services, resource centres, assistive equipment and talk to service users to understand how they benefit from support
  • Eye care professionals to liaise with patients with VI via sight loss charity to obtain patient case studies for their training requirements
  • Know the services available in your local area: sensory impairment team, sight loss charities and eye clinic liaison officers. You can find local services here.
  • Invite sight loss groups to use your training facilities
  • Co-host public eye health awareness days and open days together
  • Eye care professionals to deliver eye health workshops for local sight loss charity’s service users.
  • Eye care professionals to volunteer for their local sight loss charity
  • Offer work experience to patients who are visually impaired to promote inclusion and equality
  • Sponsor charity events
  • Know how to refer patients to local and national support services and ensure all relevant colleagues are aware

And finally, remember… REFER, REFER, REFER!!

If you’d like to attend one of our award-winning Seeing Beyond the Eyes CET workshops, you can view them here 

This video has kindly been supported by Thea Pharmaceuticals who are passionate about supporting charities and patients who live with sight loss.

Our Seeing Beyond the Eyes Resource Pack lets you know where to refer your patients or service users with visual impairments for local support


Just download, fill in details of your local support services then save and print your personalised copy for easy reference

Download your copy here

If you’d like to attend one of our award-winning Seeing Beyond the Eyes 6 Point CET workshops, you can view them here 

Sight Loss Support Services Poster

Enables you to enter details of your local support services for people with visual impairment and display in staff and public areas. Click this link to download, print and personalise your own copy Sight Loss Support Services Poster

Seeing Beyond the Eyes is an initiative developed by us to connect the optical and sight loss support sectors to benefit patients living with visual impairment

Take a look at our launch event video to find out more…

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The Primary aims of the project are:

1. To increase referrals from optometrists and opticians to local and national sight loss organizations.

2. To increase accessibility and inclusivity across all eye care services for people with or at risk of sight loss.

3. To increase optical sector awareness of local and national support services and corresponding referral pathways for people with or at risk of sight loss.

The project is delivered by Visualise founder Daniel Williams (Man on a mission with low vision), Peter Black of Orbita Black Ltd (Former President of The Association of British Dispensing Opticians – ABDO) and Jayshree Vasani, dispensing optician and sub-regional lead for ABDO.

It aims to forge stronger connections between the sight loss and optical sectors for the benefit of the two million people living with sight loss in the UK, a number that is expected to double over the next 30 years (RNIB estimate).

Our CET (Continuing Education and Training) roadshow targeting optometrists, dispensing and contact lens opticians was launched in May 2018 to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by patients who are diagnosed with irreversible sight loss.

Download the full report by clicking on the links below:

PDF (includes graphics) SBE Report PDF 21.3.19

Word Version (text only version) SBE Report – Text only version 21.3.19

Our cinema provided more support than our optician

Listen to Emma and Alan’s story from our Life Beyond Visual Impairment podcast. Here’s the link…