“It is incredibly important to put a spotlight on eye health”

Visionary annual conference featured talks from Marsha de Cordova, Louisa Wickham and Sam Latif

Marsha de Cordova standing talking

Hundreds of delegates attended the annual Visionary conference, designed for local and national vision loss organisations, to hear talks from national clinical director for eye care, Louisa Wickham, MP for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova, and Procter & Gamble’s first company accessibility leader, Sam Latif.

The conference programme was developed by Visionary, which has more than 135 member vision loss organisations, in order to connect, develop, and inspire attendees through a combination of keynote speakers and workshops.

A panel session with speakers during the Visionary conference
A panel session with speakers during the Visionary conference

Reflecting on the conference, which was held in Birmingham on 27–28 September, CEO of Visionary, Fiona Sandford, said: “Our flagship conference is an opportunity for everyone to come together to share ideas and best practice, go to workshops and listen to keynote speakers and celebrate their achievements.”

Sandford described De Cordova’s talk, which explored how she had translated her personal experience of being visually impaired into direct action, as “incredibly powerful.”

During her talk, De Cordova, who has been campaigning for improvements in eye care and the introduction of a national eye health strategy in England, said: “It is incredibly important to put a spotlight on eye health given the worrying situation in the NHS, address the challenges in the eye care pathway, and improve the coordination between primary and secondary care.”

De Cordova, emphasised: “On a human level, it’s really about wanting to make that difference to the lives of people regardless of where they live, so they can access good quality eye care.”

De Cordova wants a more consistent approach to commissioning and delivering eye care across England which suffers from a ‘postcode lottery,’ and will continue to seek improvements to eye health care.

She emphasised: “I want the Government now to take action, and I would expect any incoming government to look at my Bill and the work that we’ve been doing in this space and seek to implement it, especially given the benefits it will bring to government as well.”

“One of the positives here is that there already are great examples of where it works and has worked,” she added.