Whether you're going for a routine eye test, or seeking emotional support for a recent diagnosis, you need to know what to expect.
The "You and your vision" charter tells you what you should expect from eye care and sight loss services.
What the charter covers
The 'You and your vision' charter starts with sight tests, then looks at diagnosis of an eye condition, and covers the need for emotional support and referral to specialist services. The charter is part of the UK Vision Strategy.
The charter sets out seven expectations:
You should be able to arrange a regular sight test with ease. The results should be explained to you, including whether you need glasses or contact lenses. If you need to be referred to a specialist, your optician or GP should give you a clear explanation.
Most people who visit opticians or eye clinics do not have any permanent sight loss. Any problem with your eyes should be explained clearly, with respect for your feelings. You should be told how you can help manage your condition and about any treatment which might help. You may ask questions about anything you don't understand. You can also have someone with you (you may need to say this is what you want).
You should be given all the information you need in a way that is right for you. You should be asked whether you would like letters and leaflets in alternative formats such as large print or audio.
You may have to see a number of different professionals to get the treatment and support you need. You should always know what the next steps will be. If you are unsure, you can ask the health professional who is supporting you.
Finding out that you have a problem with your eyes can be worrying. You should be offered the chance to talk with someone who understands what you are going through and can answer your questions. This might be someone who has had a similar experience, a counsellor or someone who can give you emotional support.
If you are one of the few people who have serious sight loss, you may benefit from being on your local authority's sight loss register. You should be advised how to register, and what the advantages are, so you can make a decision about it.
If you lose any of your sight, you may need support to learn new ways of doing things like getting around town, cooking meals or using a computer. You should be given information on local and national support services. Your family, friends or carers should be given the help they need to support you if you say you would like them to be involved.
For copies of the charter in large print, braille or audio, please call: 0303 123 9999
Not getting the right eye sight service?
If you feel you are not getting the service you need, you can contact:
England - your local PALS office (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.