AOP relaunches #SightWontWait campaign

The campaign calls on the Government to commit to a national eye health strategy in order reduce hospital eye care waiting lists and stop preventable sight loss

The AOP has relaunched Sight won’t wait, a campaign emphasising that the way in which eye care is delivered in the UK needs to change as thousands of people in need of a hospital eye appointment are forced to wait, risking preventable sight loss.

Initially launched in March this year, and following data obtained through an Optometry Today Freedom of Information Act request, the AOP is renewing its pledge calling on the Government to commit to a national eye health strategy.

Data released alongside the campaign revealed that 628,502 people were waiting for ophthalmology appointments in England alone. A further 27,260 people have been waiting for a year or more. Latest figures from June 2023 show this number to be almost 650,000.

Earlier this year the campaign attracted wide-spread media attention across national and regional print titles, broadcast and radio. The campaign featured in 170 online articles, 67 regional publications, 12 national publications, 70 radio interviews and three television packages.

Reviving the campaign, the AOP is calling on members to support it in raising awareness of the issue with government in each of the four nations.

For members practising in England and Northern Ireland, the AOP highlights that one in 11 people on NHS waiting lists are awaiting an ophthalmology appointment, with nearly half (47%) reporting a decline or loss of vision. It has produced specific briefing documents that practitioners in these nations can use to raise awareness with their local MPs alongside, example template letters. 

In Wales, the AOP is highlighting that two in 10 people on NHS waiting lists are waiting an ophthalmology appointment, with 20,546 patients waiting for over a year. A briefing document has been produced specific to eye care waiting lists in Wales that can be shared by practitioners with their MPs.

In Scotland the AOP is emphasising that 58,983 patients are waiting for an ophthalmology appointment, with 5875 patients waiting over a year. A briefing document that practitioners can use to highlight this to MPs in Scotland is also available.

To learn more about the campaign and get involved, visit the AOP website, and follow the #SightWontWait hashtag on its social channels.