Almost two million people are living with significant sight loss in the UK and this figure is predicted to double to four million by 2050.
Optometrists have an important role to play in preventing people from losing their sight unnecessarily.
Our Preventing avoidable sight loss guide introduces optometrists and ophthalmologists to RNIB's work to develop evidence-based eye health interventions. It provides an overview of:
Download our Preventing avoidable sight loss guide to learn about RNIB's pilot eye health interventions and the actions you can take to help increase eye care service uptake and treatment concordance.
Our new report highlights how optometrists can help prevent unnecessary sight loss in wet AMD patients by making faster referrals. Wet AMD - or wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration - is an eye condition that affects 40,000 older people every year. As wet AMD can develop very quickly, resulting in loss of central vision, urgent referral to a hospital eye clinic is vital.
The report - Don't lose sight! Don't delay! - is part of RNIB's Save our Sight (SOS) campaign. It reveals that the time taken from first contact, to referral, to diagnosis varies greatly, with 69 per cent of cases being diagnosed outside of the recommended seven days. Three quarters (74 per cent) of patients had their first contact with a community optometrist. Wet AMD can lead to sight loss in as little as three months. This is why it's vital that patients are diagnosed in the eye clinic within seven days, and that treatment commences within the next week - in line with Royal College of Ophthalmologists guidance.
Other key findings from the report highlight that:
RNIB is calling on community optometrists to follow their local rapid referral pathway to help save the sight of wet AMD patients. Actions for optometrists include: