Barriers to sight impairment certification in the UK:the example of a population with diabetes in East London

Rabia Bourkiza, Mala Subash, Dania Qatarneh, Joanna Dacosta, Catey Bunce, Tunde Peto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: This study assessed the barriers to sight impairment certification in the East London Borough of Tower Hamlets amongst patients attending the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service (DRSS).

METHODS: All patients who attended DRSS between 1stApril 2009 and 31st of March 2010 and whose recorded best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) at DRSS fulfilled the requirements for sight impairment in the UK were included. An additional 24 patients whose general practitioners (GPs) reported them to be certified blind due to no perception of light (NPL) vision were re-examined to ascertain the reason for certification, and their potential social and visual aids needs.

RESULTS: 78 patients were identified with certifiable vision and were reviewed: 10 deceased in the preceding 12 months; 60 were not known to be certified. Of these, 57 attended further assessment, 27 were found to have non-certifiable vision, 9 were referred for further interventions, 9 were certified and 9 were found to be eligible, but declined certification. Five patients were registered due to diabetic eye disease.Of those 24 reported by the GP of NPL vision, only 4 had true NPL, the rest had usable vision. Only two of them were certified blind due to diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data shows that sight certification in patients with diabetes might be underestimated and these patients often have non-diabetes related visual loss. We propose that data on certifiable visual impairment could serve, along with existing certification databases, as a resource for quality of care standards assessment and service provision for patients with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2014


  • Blindness
  • Certification
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vision, Low
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visually Impaired Persons
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers to sight impairment certification in the UK:the example of a population with diabetes in East London'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this