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RNIB welcomes new NICE quality standards for serious eye conditions

RNIB warmly welcomes the updated NICE Quality Standards and urge all providers to implement all six standards immediately.

A surgeon performing eye surgery on a patient obscured from view.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a public body which provides national guidance to improve health and social care, has announced updated guidance to improve the quality of existing standards.

The new guidance covers the diagnosis and management of patients with cataracts, glaucoma and age‑related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as, the prevention of sight loss. You can find the updated statements below.

Statement 1: Adults with signs of possible glaucoma or related conditions on a routine sight test have additional tests before they are referred for a diagnosis.

Statement 2: Adults with cataracts are not refused surgery based on visual acuity alone.

Statement 3: Adults with late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (wet active) start treatment within 14 days of referral to the macular service.

Statement 4: Adults with late AMD (wet active) have monitoring for both eyes.

Statement 5: Adults with chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG) or related conditions have reassessment at specific intervals.

Statement 6: Adults with serious eye disorders are given a certificate of vision impairment as soon as they are eligible.

RNIB will continue to campaign to ensure that these standards are fully implemented across all areas of England. In particular, we want to ensure that patients receive timely treatment and care, including access to Eye Care Liaison Officer (ECLO) support.

ECLOs play a crucial role in supporting people through the process of being certified as visually impaired (statement six), yet over forty percent of the largest ophthalmology departments in England still don’t have an ECLO meaning people may be facing delays to certification and not receiving vital support.

You can find out more about the vital role of ECLOs and what support they provide below.