Eye Health Indicator confirmed and details announced - eye health sector response

20 November 2012

The eye health sector has welcomed the announcement of details of how the first ever Public Health Indicator for preventable sight loss will be measured. From April 2013 this Indicator will be introduced as part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework in England and will monitor the major causes of preventable sight loss in adults. 

Public Health England, the organisation responsible for this Framework, will assess how many people are certified as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind) and have lost their sight from one of the three major causes of preventable sight loss: glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. 

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK, has welcomed the news and has also revealed details of a new briefing available to everyone with an interest in eye health.  The briefing 'Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority' explains more about how individual stakeholders such as optometrists, ophthalmologists, Orthoptists as well as voluntary sector professionals working in the sight loss/eye health sector can raise awareness of this new indicator amongst key decision makers. 

She said:  “By working together the eye health sector has ensured that preventable sight loss has been recognised by the Government as a public health priority for the first time.

"This major achievement is one further crucial step on our journey to improving the eye health of the nation. We must continue to work together to ensure Health and Wellbeing Boards, Public Health professionals, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the new Local Eye Health Networks reflect this new Indicator in their Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies, their Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and commissioning and service development plans.

"This briefing launched today will help everyone involved with eye health to speak with one voice to highlight why this Indicator is so important".

Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality welcomed the briefing. He said: "Regular eye sight tests are vital if we are to prevent people from losing their sight unnecessarily.

"Including the preventable sight loss indicator in the Public Health Outcomes Framework will be valuable in helping drive up standards in eye care.

"I welcome this briefing and encourage the eye health sector to use it in delivering and promoting the preventable sight loss indicator." 

The briefing 'Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority' is available at http://www.commissioningforeyecare.org.uk


Notes to Editors

  • The briefing 'Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority' is available at http://www.commissioningforeyecare.org.uk
  • The briefing was jointly produced by members of the VISION 2020 UK Communications Group which includes the College of Optometrists, Local Optical Committee Support Unit, Optical Confederation, RNIB, Royal College of Ophthalmologists and VISION 2020 UK
  • The eye health indicator in the Public Health Outcomes Framework will measure the rate of sight loss from chronic glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy per 100,000 of the population. The data used will be based on CVI (certificate of visual impairment) registrations and will be measured annually.
  • The UK Vision Strategy (UKVS) is a VISION 2020 UK initiative led by RNIB. It is a united cross-sector initiative to improve eye health and sight loss services across the UK. Over 650 individuals and organisations have played a direct role in creating the Strategy. 
  • The Strategy was developed in response to the World Assembly's VISION 2020 resolution which aims to reduce avoidable sight loss by the year 2020. More information For more information: www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy
  • VISION 2020 UK is an umbrella organisation which facilitates greater collaboration and co-operation within the UK sight loss sector.  VISION 2020 UK is a supporting member of the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. More information can be found at: www.vision2020uk.org.uk

Media enquiries
UK Vision Strategy and VISION 2020 UK
Katherine Huntly Tel: 0207 391 21770207 391 2177 or Katherine.Huntly@rnib.org.uk

College of Optometrists
Ellen Colquhoun Tel: 0207 766 4342

Jenny Manchester, Mobile: 07703 677697

Optical Confederation
Jenny Gowen, Mobile: 07595 653718

Lucy Stanyer 020 7391 2223

Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Amanda Hayhurst, Tel: 07720 205581


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