Eye health professionals welcome the first ever Public Health Indicator for eye health

2 April 2013

Eye health professionals from across the sector will welcome the first ever Public Health Indicator for eye health when it comes into force on April 1st, 2013.  

As part of the new Public Health Outcomes Framework, the Indicator will track changes in the numbers of people who are certified as blind or partially sighted and have lost their sight from one of the three major causes of preventable sight loss: glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.  
 
Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK said: “April 1st is an important day for anyone with an interest in preventing avoidable sight loss and ensuring eye health is on the agenda of every newly created Health and Wellbeing Board across England.  For the first time, there is a responsibility on commissioners of public health to ensure that they tackle both sight loss and avoidable sight loss in their local communities. 
 
“But the onus is not just on commissioners –  eye health professionals across England need to use their local contacts to raise awareness amongst commissioners and those involved with public health planning of the importance of improving eye health and tackling avoidable sight loss through this new requirement." 
 
David Hewlett, Chief Executive of the Optical Confederation said: “Eye health professionals across the sector are eager to seize this opportunity to tackle eye health in their local communities and through Local Eye Health Networks in England.  This is our chance to make a real difference across the NHS and social care for our patients and the public, especially at risk groups”.  
 
A new briefing ‘Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority’ has been launched to support eye health professionals in raising awareness of the indicator. The briefing was jointly produced by members of VISION 2020 UK including the College of Optometrists, LOCSU, Optical Confederation, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, VISION 2020 UK, UK Vision Strategy and RNIB.  
The briefing is available at: http://www.commissioningforeyecare.org.uk 
 
-Ends-
 
 
Notes to editors 
  • The briefing 'Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority' is available at http://www.commissioningforeyecare.org.uk
  • From 1 April 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 vision impairment) registrations and will be measured annually.
  • The UK Vision Strategy 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, the Strategy aims to reduce avoidable sight loss by the year 2020. More information For more information: www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy 
  • The Public Health Indicator will be monitored by the newly established organisation Public Health England. 
 

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