Policy: Sight loss advisers

Every 15 minutes someone in the UK is told that they are losing, or have permanently lost, their sight. They will be left to face one of the most difficult questions of their lives - "what now?"

We campaign to ensure that no one faces sight loss alone. We want every person diagnosed with sight loss to have access to support at the time of diagnosis. We're calling for every eye department in the UK to have access to a sight loss adviser, to provide this much needed support. 
 
Sight loss advisers are commonly known as ECLOs (Eye Clinic Liaison Officers) in England. They are trained, non-clinical, staff working within eye departments that provide patients and their families with vital quality emotional and practical support. We are calling on hospital trust managers to explore the need for and introduce a sight loss adviser service in their eye department.  

Reports

The pressure of continued rising demand for services, coupled with shrinking budgets, presents health services across the UK with a formidable challenge. This is particularly the case for ophthalmology departments. In our 'See the need. Sight loss advisers: improving patient outcomes through cost-effective care' report, we show how at this critical time, the role of sight loss advisers’ offers hospitals an innovative solution to fulfil an unmet need and ensure nobody faces sight loss alone. 

 
Our 'Sight loss advisers: supporting patients and eye departments' report sets out powerful accounts from ophthalmologists showing how a sight loss adviser can be integral to the running of an eye department and the difference that the service makes to patient care. The report also reveals that a sight loss adviser service can deliver a welcome financial return to health and social care budgets of £10.57 for every £1 invested. 

‘Being there when it matters’ highlights that 94 per cent of the public expect to be referred to a sight loss adviser if they found out they were losing their sight. Unfortunately, this is not the case with sight loss advisers unavailable at various places across the country. The report features a number of powerful stories from people who have experienced losing their sight and sets out clearly why a sight loss adviser service is so important. 

Sight loss advisers play a vital role in supporting blind and partially sighted people. ‘Hanging by a Thread’ sets out how short term and complex funding arrangements of sight loss adviser services in England mean that many essential services are unfortunately under threat.