CVI AND CSSI/B in England
The Certificate of Visual Impairment
is Certainly Very Important to
anyone who has significant sight loss.
It would appear that many people with a significant
degree of visual impairment are totally
unaware of it. Even more worrying
it appears that not all ophthalmologists are
aware of them. Those who know
about the CVI do not seem to appreciate
how important it is for their patients.
The CVI is the royal road to registration and the subsequent support, and protections.it literally puts you on the map as far as the sight loss world is concerned.
Curiously , some people have been known to
refuse a certificate.
Up to 12% of certificate holders have
not gone on to register as sight impaired or
severely sight impaired/blind.
In addition to this there is one estimate that
only 49% of patients who qualify for a CVI actually
This is a shocking state of
affairs and the implications for
the sight loss support sector are
If we look at the role of the CVI and the rationale
behind it, then the grounds for dismay
are even more firmly rooted.
From the guidelines to ophthalmologists and
eye clinic staff published in 2017.
Purpose of the CVI form
1. The CVI formally certifies someone as sight impaired (previously referred to as partially
sighted) or as severely sight impaired (previously referred to as blind). With the
permission of the patient the CVI is shared so that their local authority or an organisation
working on their behalf, is able to make contact to offer and explain the benefits of
registration on a local sight register and to ensure support and services are accessible as
appropriate. 2. Sight loss can have a significant impact on a person’s independence and wellbeing. If the
person is not known to social services as someone with needs arising from their sight
impairment, the CVI acts as a formal referral for a needs assessment. Consequently, the
CVI should be seen as a significant step on the sight loss pathway, enabling people to
access support to help them retain or regain independence. Certification should therefore
not be seen as the end of the treatment journey for patients but as a gateway to support
3. On receipt of a CVI, in addition to providing an assessment of the patient’s social care
needs, the local authority or an organisation working on their behalf should also contact
the patient to offer and explain the benefits of registration. Registration is voluntary, and
whilst it is essential to obtain some benefits and concessions, it is not a prerequisite for
accessing support from social services.
4. Hospital clinic staff should explain the importance of certification and the sharing of
information with their local authority, their GP and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Certifications Office at Moorfields Eye Hospital. If the patient still does not consent to
sharing information they should be made aware they may miss out on valuable support
5. Completing and sending off the CVI in a timely manner is not only beneficial for the
patient but will enable community health and social care agencies to plan appropriate
services as part of local strategies such as falls prevention or loneliness and isolation.
6. If the patient has also provided consent to share the CVI form with the Certifications
Office at Moorfields Eye Hospital, the CVI will be used to record diagnostic and other
data that is used for epidemiological analysis and reported via an NHS England Public health indicators.
it is clear that the intentions
are there but the execution is on the whole poor.
Over the years I have met many
people who knew nothing about
the CVI or if they did had
to insist on one being issued.
I am currently carrying out a survey
to try and get an indication as to whether
this is typical or not. The data
so far indicates that the majority
of people have to ask and that on the whole consultants
are not very pro-active in offering the
I would be very grateful if anyone who reads this could help me collect the data.
If you , or anybody you know, has a CVI could you please provide two bits of information.
The year the certificate was issued
Whether the certificate was offered or had to be asked for.
Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org