RNIB promotes informed patient consent in eye care

Post date: 
Thursday, 2 July 2020
Category: 
Campaigning
Eye health campaigning
Lens being held to eye of patient

We worked with expert patients and the UK Ophthalmology Alliance (UKOA), to make sure new consent forms for eye health treatments are easier to read, with clearer communication of any risks.

Consent forms are given to patients ahead of certain procedures. They’re important because they give an opportunity to make sure the patient knows what’s going to happen in their treatment, that they agree to it, and can understand any risks or side effects.

Expert patients get involved

Our Expert Patient Group has been involved with changes to consent forms from an early stage, we’re glad their suggestions have been taken up by the UKOA. 

Changes to consent forms

The new consent forms have improved legibility, and better communicate the risks of side effects from eye health treatments. These treatments include surgery to correct cataracts and detached retinas, and injections into the eye. 

The new forms follow clear print guidelines, with larger and better spaced text, and the language is more patient focussed. Crucially, the guidance to clinicians contains a reminder that it’s their responsibility, to enquire whether an alternative format is needed, such as audio, braille, or large print. 

The importance of experience

Helen Lee, our Policy and Campaigns Manager, said: “Working with blind and partially sighted people is at the heart of what we do. Our Expert Patient Group is made up of people who are experts through experience, which they can apply to improving processes and practice in eye clinics.

“This is a great example of the influence and impact they can have. Improvements to a form may not sound important, but this will be the basis of hundreds of thousands of conversations in eye clinics. And it will help make sure that when patients consent to a procedure, they’re doing so with all the information they need.”

Find out more about our eye health policy work.