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May 8 2011
A new ‘pathway’ that aims to offer adults with sight loss quicker access to a low vision assessment and support closer to home has been launched.
Developed by LOCSU (the Local Optical Committee Support Unit), the Community Optical Pathway for an Adult Low Vision Enhanced Service is designed to provide all adult patients with sight loss a quality low vision assessment, information and clinical support, and where appropriate, low vision aids (LVAs), daily living aids. In addition there will be a follow-up checkup in a community setting in a convenient location for them.
The pathway, which has been designed to be delivered by both optometrists and dispensing opticians working in community optical practice, has been developed through LOCSU’s Clinical Advisory Group in consultation with visual impairment charities and patients.
Trevor Warburton (pictured), chair of LOCSU’s clinical advisory group and LOCSU associate, said: “Low vision blights lives and can make people who are already frail or vulnerable even more isolated.
“This community pathway underlines the need for commissioners to improve access to treatment in order to prevent falls which may result in injuries requiring expensive hospital treatment.”
President of ABDO, Jennifer Brower, and a low vision practitioner herself, also welcomed the launch. “Dispensing opticians are well placed to provide excellent low vision services,” she said, “and through this pathway many people with low vision will be able to access high quality care and support from their local optical practices.”
The pathway has already attracted wider support. Dr Michael Crossland, a low vision specialist based at Moorfields Eye Hospital, explained his support for the pathway. “In my work in low vision clinics I have seen first-hand the improvement which low vision rehabilitation can make on quality of life. Having more clinicians trained in providing these services is very important. The LOCSU enhanced service will ensure that more people with visual impairment can access high quality low vision rehabilitation at a time and place convenient to them.”
Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy programme director, said: “People with low vision often find it hard to get the support they need when their sight first affects their normal day-to-day routine. This new pathway supports the aims of the UK Vision Strategy to deliver excellent services for people with sight loss when they need it most. Developed by a large number of organisations who are experts in this field, the pathway offers a rounded-approach to tackle the issues faced by people with low vision in their local community.”
A new training and accreditation package for low vision has been developed by LOCSU in conjunction with WOPEC (Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre).