Pressures in the eye care sector addressed at Royal College of Ophthalmologists Annual Congress

Representatives from The Eyes Have It partnership, of which the AOP is a member, spoke on a panel at the congress on 23 May

Four people sitting at a table on stage for a panel discussion at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Annual Congress

The Eyes Have It is a partnership of Macular Society, Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation, RNIB, Association of Optometrists, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and Roche. Roche has funded the activities of the partnership.


The Eyes Have It (TEHI) partnership took part in a panel at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ (RCOphth) Annual Congress on Tuesday 23 May.

TEHI member Thom Renwick, therapy area lead for ophthalmology at Roche, took part in the panel, which also included Professor Ben Burton, president-elect of RCOphth, and the national clinical director for eye care for NHS England, Louisa Wickham.

TEHI is calling for action from parliamentarians and policy makers to prevent avoidable sight loss.

The group is made up of representatives from the AOP, Roche, the Macular Society, Fight for Sight, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Royal National Institute of Blind People. The AOP’s policy director, Carolyn Ruston, who attended the congress, is part of TEHI.

The panel covered subjects including the causes of current pressures in the eye care sector, the role of independent sector eye care providers and how commissioning models can support effective work in this area, how ready the system is for change, and the need to balance choice with providing the best care for everyone.

Keith Valentine, CEO of Fight for Sight/Vision Foundation, chaired the discussion.

Wickham also provided a summary of the work she is leading to develop new models of care in North Central London.

The panel was attended by between 50 and 60 delegates. The congress took place at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, from 22–25 May.

The panel session “called for the need for better commissioning to ensure effective local planning of independent providers, so that capacity is genuinely additional and only provided where needed, without destabilising existing NHS services,” Burton said.

He called the congress “a great opportunity to highlight the challenges facing ophthalmic services and a chance for our members to voice their concerns.”

He added: “TEHI’s next step is to continue to influence healthcare policy and government to keep eye care services at the forefront of decision making.”