9) Low Vision Services
Low Vision Referral Guidance
Approximately 300,000 people in England are registered blind or partially sighted (The Health and Social Care Information Centre 2011) and the National Eye Health Epidemiological Model (NEHEM) suggests that nationally 4.06% of the population of England have sight impairment or low vision. If these national figures are extrapolated locally this would indicate that approximately 40,000 people in Birmingham are living with low vision.
Many of these patients would benefit from low vision assessment. As an optometrist you are in an ideal position to offer help, advice and signposting to people with visual impairment and their families.
There are several places to access formal low vision services in the city.
Community Based: Focus Birmingham;
Focus Birmingham is a local charity offering a range of services for visually impaired users across the city. Services are free to the user and include:
Low vision assessment including free loan of aids (five venues across the city)
Resource shop for daily living aids.
Community services including, home assessment, befriending services, shopping assistance, art group etc.
Emotional support services for visually impaired.
CCTV and adaptive computer software demonstration and assessment.
Referral to Focus is by letter or phone:
Focus Birmingham 0121 478 5252
48-62 Woodville Road
Hospital Low Vision Services;
All of the main local hospital eye departments run low vision services on a sessional basis, offering advice and free loan of optical aids.
If there is no treatable pathology it may be more appropriate to refer to the community based service, however please remember if a patient needs to be registered visually impaired this still needs to be done by an ophthalmologist.
Social services visual impairment team.B
Birmingham City Council employs a team of rehabilitation professionals to help re-enable visual impaired patients and encourage independence.
Mobility and orientation training
Daily living support (kitchen skills etc)
Referral for services can be via the Low Vision Leaflet (LVL) which can be accessed at:
Phone: 0121 464 9455
Visual Impairment Team Southside Business Centre Room 1-3 249 Ladypool Road Birmingham B12 8LF