Supporting patients with sight loss

The free CET-accredited roadshow Seeing Beyond the Eyes will help optical professionals care for patients facing the prospect of visual impairment

Daniel Williams

A CET-accredited roadshow will give optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians insight into how to support patients living with sight loss.

Seeing Beyond the Eyes is a free two-hour workshop that delivers six interactive CET points.

The roadshow was launched on 14 May at the Pocklington Trust Hub in London.

A further 30 events are scheduled across the UK, with the event series continuing into October.

Speaking with OT at the launch, entrepreneur Daniel Williams told OT that many people with visual impairments are told by optical professionals that there is nothing that can be done for them.

“What we are doing today is we are empowering optometrists and opticians to help them see beyond the eyes, to understand the range of services that are available to blind and partially sighted people so that no patient is left without a referral to an organisation for support,” he explained.

Mr Wiliams was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of eight. He is the founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy.

He shared that when he was growing up, he was unaware of support services for people living with sight loss.

“I think it would have really helped me at that point in my life to know what was available to me,” Mr Williams observed.

Dispensing optician, Peter Black, highlighted that only a low proportion of optical practices within the UK offer low vision services.

“We are hoping to get opticians a bit more interested in low vision and ensure that patients are referred appropriately,” he said.

“There’s no rocket science here – this is all about the basics of supporting people,” Mr Black added.

The roadshow has been supported by the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Chief executive officer of the trust, Peter Corbett, highlighted that while medical intervention may not be possible for all patients living with sight loss, all patients can benefit from support services.

“Our aim is to bring together the charity and health service organisations involved in rehabilitation with community optical practitioners to improve collaboration and cross referral for the benefit of patients to help them lead more independent lives,” Mr Corbett emphasised.

A full list of events can be found online.