BACKGROUND: In the UK, the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) certifies a person as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind). This is completed by ophthalmologists and passed with the patient's consent to their GP, their local authority, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Certifications office. Once a person is certified, they can be registered by their local authority which is voluntary but enables the person to access rehabilitation or habitation services, financial concessions, welfare benefits and other services provided by local authorities.
METHODS: We conducted semi-structured individual interviews with 17 patients with a diagnosed eye condition, 4 Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLO) and 4 referring optometrists around their experiences around CVI and registration processes. Analysis of themes was conducted with results synthesised in a narrative analysis.
RESULTS: Patients reported lack of clarity around the processes of certification and registration, benefits of certification and what happens beyond certification, the type of support that they are entitled to, delays in accessing support. Optometrists appear not to engage with the process much, especially if the patient is being treated by the hospital eye service.
CONCLUSION: Vision loss can be a devastating experience for the patient. There is a lack of information and confusion around the process. The lack of a joined-up process between certification and registration needs to be addressed if we are to provide the support that patients deserve in order to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.