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Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, April to June 2016



World Sight Day – Ten Year Anniversary call to Action.

FODO and NCHA support Deafblind Awareness Week (27 June – 3 July).

Chair of Vision Care for Homeless Is Clothed of the Livery.

Vision UK 2016 encourages expanding horizons to meet the challenges ahead.

Science and Technology, One of the 4 Stream debates at UK Vision Conference.

Children and Young People, One of the 4 Stream debates at UK Vision Conference.

Diabetes and Preventing Blindness, One of four stream debates taken from The UK Vision Strategy Conference.

"Ageing and Sight Loss" One of four stream debates taken from The UK Vision Strategy Conference.

Fuss Free Phones Partners with RNIB to help Blind People stay connected.

Bambooka in Partnership with Vision Aid Overseas.

National Glaucoma Awareness Week. 6-12 June 2016: 3 Days to go!

Orbis to Roll Out Next-Generation Flying Eye Hospital.

Eyecare Trust Annual General Meeting 2016 announced.

Vision Aid Overseas to incorporate Optometry Giving Sight fundraising in the UK.

Launch of our children’s vision campaign by OGS.

Optix supports Vision Care for Homeless People

VISION 2020 UK secures funding for data collection of Public Health Indicator on eye health.

On Line Lipreading Practice Website Joins Charity Page Listing.

World Sight Day – Ten Year Anniversary call to Action.

June 2016

UK eye care charity Vision Aid Overseas, which now incorporates Optometry Giving Sight in the UK, is calling on eye care practitioners across the UK to support the 10th Anniversary World Sight Day, on Thursday 13 October 2016, by making a donation for every pair of spectacles sold during October 2016, by selling World Sight Day raffle tickets to customers, by encouraging customers to make a donation and by supporting the campaign in any way that they can.

Hampshire Optometrist Graham Coates, who has agreed that his Practice, Morgan-Owen & Coates, will make a donation to Vision Aid Overseas for every pair of spectacles sold during October 2016, told us – ‘World Sight Day draws our attention to the fact that 1 in 10 people around the world don’t have access to the eye tests and spectacles that we all take for granted. Vision Aid Overseas fights poverty in the developing world by making eye tests and spectacles available to the poorest of communities at an affordable price. As well as making donations from the Practice, we will be asking customers to support World Sight Day by handing out information to all those who want to know more’.

Last year over 100 UK practices supported World Sight Day by raising funds and telling customers about the importance of eye care worldwide. But recognition of World sight Day is still relatively low compared to some other parts of the world and in particular when compared to places like the USA and Australia.

Nigel Wilson of Vision Aid Overseas told us – ‘World Sight Day is an international fundraising campaign to raise awareness and funds for people who are needlessly blind or vision impaired simply because they can’t access an eye exam and vision care provided by an eye care professional. We are calling on UK eye care professionals to help children like Adams Mambwe (pictured). Adams was struggling at school because he is short-sighted and couldn’t see the blackboard properly, but after having his eyes tested with our volunteer team, he was prescribed a smart new pair of spectacles that restored his sight. Adams is now back at school, improving his grades and wants to be a policeman when he’s older so that he can protect and support his family.’

To get involved in World sight Day in October 2016 please visit, or call Vision Aid Overseas on 01293 535016.

FODO and NCHA support Deafblind Awareness Week (27 June – 3 July).

June 2016

Sister organisations FODO and the NCHA have joined together to back Deafblind Awareness Week in the UK, focusing on the role community eye and hearing health professionals can play supporting people with dual sensory loss.

There are a quarter of a million deafblind people in the UK, of which 88% are over the age of 70. Studies suggest this number is set to more than double to over half a million by 2030.

The two organisations have highlighted how regular eye examinations and hearing tests in the community can help spot the early signs of disease and diminished vision and hearing, avoid preventable sensory loss and allowing people to adapt to any changes in their ability to see and hear well.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO and NCHA said, “Looking after our sight and hearing, and getting both checked regularly by a community eye health or hearing professional, should be part of everyone’s normal health regime, especially as we get older. It does not take much time but our sight and hearing are key part to helping us stay active, healthy and independent as the years progress.

“Sensory loss is disempowering for everyone but particularly older people and those with dual sensory loss. Without access to support networks it is very easy to become isolated, lonely and depressed. Our sectors have to lead public awareness of these issues and break down the stigma some still associate with age-related changes to eyesight and hearing.”

To find out more about Deafblind Awareness Week, follow the hashtag #DeafblindAwarenessWeek

Chair of Vision Care for Homeless Is Clothed of the Livery.

June 2016

Elaine Styles, Chair of Vision Care for Homeless People and a practicing London optometrist, is proud to have been Clothed in the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

Elaine Styles


The twelve year old charity (VCHP), which now has centres in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton, has benefitted greatly from the support of the Livery company, and its long association with charitable work brought admiration from Elaine, as she explained, “I was very interested in becoming involved in the historic Livery which has been working to fight visual impairment since 1629. When I was asked if I would be interested in being Clothed as a Liveryman, I was honoured and decided I would like to take this next step. The WCSM has a long record of improving knowledge and skills within the optical sector, as well as supporting charitable work, so I will be among like-minded people. It is a great opportunity to improve the awareness of VCHP among my fellow Liverymen and inform them about the work we carry out with such a vulnerable group of people.”

Having raised thousands of pounds through her extensive cycling – from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and through some of the most challenging cols of the Tour de France, Elaine sets an impressive example of leading a charity, her fellow trustees believe.

Vision UK 2016 encourages expanding horizons to meet the challenges ahead.

June 2016

The eighth annual Vision UK conference took place in London on the 14 June. ‘Vision UK 2016: Expanding Horizons’ pushed the boundaries for implementing the UK Vision Strategy nationally by engaging new audiences and encouraging broader collaborations.

The conference programme reflected the changing eye health and sight loss service landscape including the continuing pressure on social care budgets and on the health sector. For the first time, the conference collaborated with Diabetes UK and Age UK to increase support for implementing the Strategy outcomes, to work together to find solutions to the challenges ahead.

Conference chair, Professor Carrie MacEwen, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Vision Strategy Leadership Group member said:
“The Vision UK conference provides an opportunity for the eye health and sight loss sectors to come together, to hear about new ways of working and to broaden their networks. By working together we can achieve so much more than we can by working alone.”

It was also announced at the conference by Lesley-Anne Alexander, CBE, that the Vision Strategy Leadership Group has commissioned NCVO Charities Evaluation Services to evaluate the UK Vision Strategy, and explore opportunities for its future development.

Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE, CEO RNIB and Chair of the Vision Strategy Leadership Group said:
“We must ensure the UK Vision Strategy is fit for the future and that we capitalise on opportunities and levers for change. Over the next 6 months, we will be taking stock of the achievements of the UK Vision Strategy. We will be seeking to understand what has worked and what has not worked so well, and we will be consulting extensively with a wide range of stakeholders to learn how we can make the UK Vision Strategy ever more relevant and effective in today’s world.”

Science and Technology, One of the 4 Stream debates at UK Vision Conference.

June 2016

There is a growing interest in the future of science and technology from all and a need to understand the impact the changes could bring.

The two science are interlinked and will provide assistance together. On one hand stem cell therapy and on the other way finder technology like the ORCAM.

Technology grows a pace as was highlighted by Alan Tinger presenting the Foresight project, questioning what impact that will have on Optometrists.

An example was the research in its later stages on “whole eye binocular” OCTs. Which will carry out an entire and enlarged eye examination without 3rd party involvement, thus saving Hospitals money and time and providing greater information about the eye which is repeatable in tests and comparable with a million other OCT scans.

For example, it will be possible with the new “whole eye technology” to map and detail the response to light by the pupil in the test which might one day link to early dementia diagnosis.

Would the optometrist be redundant, definitely not said the Moorfield’s Ophthalmologist as the new technology will open up even more tests and detection possibilities on an ever ageing population.

There were many questions from the floor on assessing the popular presses love of new technologies.

Questions on feasibilities, time line and managing people’s expectations let alone the cost factor.

Children and Young People, One of the 4 Stream debates at UK Vision Conference.

June 2016

Goals for the day:

• To work towards a fairer position in reducing post code lottery effects. A child wishing special schooling has to go through many hoops including tribunals in many areas and yet in some areas it is compulsory that special schools are attended even when the family expresses and interest to remain in the mainstream education.

• To spread the word and the code of practice on best provision of services. SEN, special educational needs reform came in in 2014, The Children and Families Act 2014, Part 3, introduced new duties and responsibilities on councils to set out the education, health and care needs of young people with SEN and disabilities in a combined education, health and care plan (EHC Plan).

The new EHC plan replaced the statement of special educational needs for children of statutory school age and the learning difficulty assessments (LDA) for young people post 16 who attend college or training courses.

Once in place, EHC plans should continue up to the age of 25 where the young person remains in education or training and continues to need its support.

• To act on the wishes of young children and adolescents and not just pay them lip service. Action plans are very individual for each child.

Diabetes and Preventing Blindness, One of four stream debates taken from The UK Vision Strategy Conference.

June 2016

Diabetes is the fasting growing threat in health to the Nation.

There are reported significant variations on the treatment people with Type 1 and Type II diabetes receive as well as variations in outcomes across the country.

Over 3 million people live with diabetes, 90% Type II and the rest Type 1. Current trends predict that 1 in 10 people will develop Type II diabetes. Just a generation ago 1 % of people in the UK would have been affected now it is nearer 5%.

10% of the entire NHS Budget is spent on diabetes care.

In the UK its estimated that almost 2/3rds of those with Type II will demonstrate retinopathies and sight loss.

People with diabetes need to be educated as to how to control and take care of their problem and regular retinal screening is making a difference. Early detection of retinopathies can reduce the onset of blindness by 90%.

The future requires collaboration at a National and local level so that education is provided, personalized and support is easily accessible to all. Local providers and local CCGs must work together.

"Ageing and Sight Loss" One of four stream debates taken from The UK Vision Strategy Conference.

June 2016

The facts:

From Age UK.

• 1st time the Conference has addressed sight loss in an ageing population.

• 2 Million suffer from sight loss in UK of which 1.6 million are elderly.

• Longevity Revolution. The number of people over 65 in the UK is going to rise by 50% in the 20 years. To a figure of 70 million. Pop aged 85 and above will triple in that period.

• A baby born in 2011 will be 8 x more likely to reach 100 years old than one born in 1931.

• A combination of lower birth rates and increasing longevity will change the proportion of those over 65 in the population from around 15% in 1985 to 25% 2035 and over 85’s will grow from 1% to 5% in the same time.

• Stats show it’s the “older old” that is growing very quickly and who have the greatest sight challenges.

• The importance is shown by the clinical stats that 10% of over 65, 20% over 75 and 50% over 90’s have sight problems

Promising signs

Our two patients describing their own journey about their diagnosis and becoming blind both concurred; that no advice was available, no face to face help received and often they were told to read the leaflet or go online!

Nowadays ECLOs are trained at a City University/RNIB course and provide that important first line of assistance in hospital ophthalmology departments after diagnosis. In the devolved regions Wales, Scotland and N Ireland the coverage is almost complete but yet again we find less than 50% of NHS Hospital Trusts in England employ either ECLOs or someone similar to carry out their work.

The day also saw a large number of posters on display and although not a winner one of the most depressing was that of a GP practice that investigated referral rates from GPs to other agencies for sight care.

Out of 50,000 patients less than 100 were originally advised to take action on sight. An extensive investigation proved that GP practices are not actively looking after their patient’s vision and their vision loss.

Goals for the day:

• Using trusted agencies, like the Yorkshire Fire Service in providing aid and advice to the elderly.

• Shortage of ECLOs must be addressed but in the meantime we should look for faster solutions. Maybe and ECLO service where people could contact trained people on a National Line or direct to volunteers.

• Using more volunteers. Every charity has a list of volunteers and coordinators so why not share the lists and offer collaboration between charities where some working for one charity could elect to offer additional services to others and be identified as such. Maybe even an “UBER” like call request system for volunteers? Vuber??!!

• Travel could be improved by blind people being allowed to have a sighted person travel with them.

Fuss Free Phones Partners with RNIB to help Blind People stay connected.

June 2016

Fuss free phonesCharity partners with Fuss Free Phones to offer service that enables blind or partially sighted people to easily place and receive calls, send and receive text messages and use the internet

Fuss Free Phones, the UK’s only personal mobile phone service, announces at Vision UK Conference a partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), the UK’s leading sight loss charity. Together, they will provide a mobile phone handset and service that offers independence for people with sensory loss.

Fuss Free Phones is the only personal mobile phone company offering a combined handset and friendly human telephonist service to help people with sight loss stay in touch and enjoy all the benefits of a mobile phone. Users can press the big button on the fuss-free handset to speak to a friendly local telephonist who manages customers’ phone books, places calls, filters incoming calls, sends and reads text messages and finds information on the internet.

“As traditional phones become more technically developed, they can become less user friendly for sensory impaired people. For example, Siri is a great innovation but is hard to use for people who are both elderly and experiencing sight loss,” said Simon Rockman, founder at Fuss Free Phones. “We are thrilled to be working with RNIB to help blind and partially sighted people communicate using all the same channels that fully sighted people do."

Fuss Free Phones“Graham Barry, Senior Product Manager at RNIB, said: "We are excited that our customers are now able to buy one of our most popular mobile phones, Doro 612 PhoneEasy, loaded with the Fuss Free Phones telephonist service. Fuss Free Phones serves as a personal concierge service and you can also opt to only receive calls from the numbers on your list. We hope this new product will help people feel more confident in using their mobile phones."

By managing a call list for all customers, Fuss Free Phones’ telephonists ensure only genuine calls are put through and unwanted calls and texts are blocked, mitigating nuisance calls.

“Before I had Fuss Free Phones I had to use my own directory. Because I couldn’t see properly, a friend gave me an enormous magnifying glass. This worked well for a while but as my eyesight deteriorated I needed a different way to contact people,” said Mary Beskeen, a Fuss Free Phones customer. “Now, all I have to do is pick up the phone, tell the telephonist who I want to speak with and be put through. Now I have over 200 people in my contact list and getting through to them is so easy.”



RNIB customers can order a Fuss Free Phones handset and SIM card through the RNIB online shop, by calling RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and through RNIB’s eleven resource centres across the UK. For more information please visit: their site

Bambooka in Partnership with Vision Aid Overseas.

June 2016

Bambooka logo
Vision Aid Overseas and Eyewear Africa Ltd, the exclusive non-profit distributor of Bambooka sunglasses are pleased to announce a new charitable partnership. From early 2016, Eyewear Africa will make a donation for every pair of Bambooka sunglasses it sells, sufficient for Vision Aid Overseas to provide someone in Africa with an eye test or pair of prescription spectacles.

Handmade from bamboo, Bambooka offer a range of contemporary and on-trend sunglasses for the modern individual. Created using a lightweight yet strong material, Bambooka sunglasses use sleek modern designs mixed with high-tech polarized or CR39 lenses to ensure the customer an ethical and stylish look.

Bambooka SaharaEyewear Africa is an innovative non-profit company, run by volunteers. Its sole mission is to, through the sale of bamboo sunglasses, raise funds in support of charitable projects in Africa. In addition to Vision Aid Overseas, it supports a sustainable lifestyle in the small community of Amasame and the Sisonke School, both located in the poverty stricken rural Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Its charitable partner there is PEPE (People Empowered Preserved Earth)

BambookaEyewear Africa’s Founder and CEO, Baz van Cranenburgh, says: “You could see our project as a novel way of fundraising – instead of asking people to make donations; we present them with a choice of eyewear with a difference. In a world with significant charity-fatigue, we find people still want to make a difference by the choices of products they make”.

Bambooka eyewear is sold through the optical channel, as well as in the ethical trade and direct to consumers from

bambooka Eyewear Africa Ltd, the exclusive distributors of Bambooka sunglasses, is a non-for-profit organization ran entirely by volunteers, who propelled solely by their passion, distribute handmade sunglasses, which are not only fashion-forward, but also help people in need.

Bambooka use Bamboo to create their sunglasses, which is a sustainable organic material.

The sunglasses are also handmade, meaning no two pairs are identical.

National Glaucoma Awareness Week. 6-12 June 2016: 3 Days to go!

June 2016

This year’s campaign is focusing on the need for regular eye health checks for parents, children, brothers and sisters, if glaucoma has been diagnosed in the family. Close relatives are four times more likely to develop the condition, when compared to someone without a family history.

We believe that everyone should have regular eye health checks, at least every two years and will be working with optometrists, eye clinic staff, voluntary groups and people across the country to help prevent people losing sight unnecessarily.

It is estimated that there are 600,000 people in the UK with glaucoma, but half have not been diagnosed. Globally, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and the number of people with glaucoma is increasing. [64 million people today, rising to 76 million by 2020].

In the UK, it is the most common cause of preventable blindness, yet many people are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages. But, if left untreated glaucoma can lead to serious loss of vision, with up to 40 per cent of sight being permanently lost before the effects are noticed. Once sight is lost it cannot be recovered.

Orbis to Roll Out Next-Generation Flying Eye Hospital.

May 2016

Orbis International is set to roll out its third-generation flying eye hospital this autumn.

New York-based Orbis is a NGO that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of blindness for over 30 years.

The aircraft, an MD-10 has been donated by FedEx, and will provide many upgrades over the past models, including improved design, increased performance, and increased audio visual capability.

The new Flying Eye Hospital’s hospital suite will comprise nine customized modules similar to commercial cargo containers.

The aircraft will leave for its first program to Asia in the fall of 2016.

Orbis The aircraft’s hospital suite will comprise nine customized modules similar to commercial cargo containers. In addition, the new aircraft has increased performance over the current plane, reducing and in some cases eliminating expensive and time-consuming fuel stops.

Orbis say the new flying eye hospital has an upgraded avionics package that requires only two pilots and a lower maintenance cost in the upkeep of the equipment compared with Orbis’ current aircraft. “This will lower the expense of crew training and spare parts to maintain the new aircraft,” the group said in a statement.

The organization also announced that Danny Haddad, MD, will lead its global blindness prevention programs. His appointment is effective June 14, 2016.
Haddad recently served as the director of global ophthalmology, Emory Eye Center at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where he developed a global ophthalmology fellowship program.

Previously, he served as director of the International Trachoma Initiative and coordinated its Zithromax donation program to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.

He also spearheaded the Global Trachoma Mapping Project in collaboration with Sightsavers.

Eyecare Trust Annual General Meeting 2016 announced.

May 2016

The fourteenth Annual General Meeting of the Eyecare Trust will take place between 12:30pm and 1:30pm on Monday 20 June 2016 at The College of Optometrists, 42 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NG.

Anyone wishing to attend the meeting should notify the Trust’s Charity Administrator, Anne Shanahan no later than 14 June.

Anne can be contacted via phone 01225 463101or email

Vision Aid Overseas to incorporate Optometry Giving Sight fundraising in the UK.

May 2016

Optometry Giving Sight and Vision Aid Overseas are very pleased to announce that the vision care charities have entered into a formal agreement whereby Vision Aid Overseas will, from now on, take over Optometry Giving Sight fundraising activities in the UK.

The decision follows a successful period of collaboration during 2015, when the two organisations worked together on fundraising activities to boost income for vision care and to save costs by working together.

“Due to the success of this collaborative working, our respective Boards feel that Vision Aid Overseas should be the lead organization within the UK for mobilizing support for sustainable eye and vision care programs in underserved communities, while Optometry Giving Sight should focus its efforts at the global level,” said Bob Chappell, Chairman of Optometry Giving Sight UK.

“This means that Vision Aid Overseas will coordinate and run the World Sight Day Challenge, now in its tenth year, and Cycling for Sight on our behalf. It also means that Optometry Giving Sight will be requesting that funds donated by their UK supporters and monthly donors are sent, instead, directly to Vision Aid Overseas to support agreed Optometry Giving Sight funded Vision Aid Overseas education and training projects.”

“This is a great outcome from all of us who are committed to fight poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries,” said Nigel Wilson, Executive Director of Vision Aid Overseas.

“Together we will be able to fight poverty and transform even more lives, through the gift of vison. We will be able to provide more eye tests and spectacles to combat Uncorrected Refractive Error amongst the estimated 640 million children and adults who are effected around the world. Given the very similar missions and beneficiaries of the two charities, Optometry Giving Sight is a natural partner for Vision Aid Overseas in the UK.”

Since 2003, Optometry Giving Sight International has provided funding to 72 projects in 38 countries and these have resulted in basic eye care services being provided to over 7.6 million people, with more than 14,000 eye care personnel trained and 133 vision centres established around the world.

In 2015, Optometry Giving Sight UK provided funding to Vision Aid Overseas to help build the capacity of the Optometry Profession in Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia.

Over the past 30 years Vision Aid Overseas has provided eye tests and spectacles to over one million children and adults worldwide.

Launch of our children’s vision campaign by OGS.

April 2016

The Global Optometric community invited to help stem the dramatic impact of myopia

Optometry Giving Sight was pleased to co-host the official launch of the Our Children’s Vision Campaign at the Australian Consulate in New York recently.

Ralph This new global campaign has been initiated by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Vision for Life™ fund, created by Essilor. It seeks to bring together governments, development agencies, the private sector, eye health practitioners and communities with the goal of screening 50 million children worldwide for vision impairments by 2020 and creating access to appropriate services for those who need them.

Optometry Giving Sight is a global partner in the campaign and will seek to mobilize support from the global optometric community.

“All of us can appreciate the importance of good vision – not just for ourselves and our families, but for the many children around the world who don’t have access to the vision care services they need,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, Global Chair of Optometry Giving Sight. “After all, if you can’t see, you can’t learn, and that condemns many in the developing world to a life of poverty and disadvantage.”

Uncorrected vision can have a big impact on young people’s lives. “They can’t play outside safely, so they struggle to make friends. They can’t see the chalkboard, so they struggle to learn. They are hindered in every aspect of their life and it doesn’t stop at childhood,” said Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chairman of the Vision For Life™ fund and Chief Corporate Mission Officer at Essilor International.

Providing children with access to eye care is now more important than ever. Recent research from the Brien Holden Vision Institute indicates that by 2050 half of the world’s population – 4.76 billion people – will suffer from myopia and most of them will need eyeglasses.

Louchana“We are potentially facing the biggest public health challenge of our generation,” said Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute and Campaign Director for Our Children’s Vision. “This trend can be slowed down through preventative or corrective care, but only if a child is reached while their eyes are still developing. An effective eye health program in schools would have an unprecedented impact. Our Children’s Vision is a call to action – to come together to ensure that effective, inclusive, sustainable eye health solutions are available to every child everywhere.”

Optometry Giving Sight has been pleased to work with CooperVision, VSP, Marchon, Essilor, Alcon to support child and school eye health projects in India, Tanzania, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, South Africa, Mexico, Haiti and Australia. They hope more companies and individuals will add their financial and in kind support to the campaign.

Other funding partners include leading sunglasses brand Revo, through the ‘Buy Vision Give Sight’ initiative. The campaign is endorsed by the World Council of Optometry and the International Council of Ophthalmology. To date, 34 international and national organizations have joined Our Children’s Vision, including Vision Aid Overseas.

Members of the optometric community who are interested in learning more about the campaign and how to get involved are invited to contact Optometry Giving Sight – More information can also be found on their website or at

Optix supports Vision Care for Homeless People

April 2016

Optix software and its growing group of users have made a significant donation to Vision Care for Homeless People.

Trevor Rowley and Elaine Styles


Trevor Rowley, Managing Director of Optix, presented a cheque for £6,444 to Elaine Styles, Chair of Vision Care for Homeless People, last week.

The money was raised from delegate donations made at the recent Optix conference and by a matched contribution from the UK optical software company.

Trevor explained that it was a natural “next step” for the company –

“We have worked with Vision Care for Homeless People for four years, supporting the clinics with software. We thought it would be good to introduce a charity appeal at our annual user conference and this was the obvious charity for us to support.”

The funds are allocated to support the ongoing work of the charity which provides eye examinations and glasses for the dispossessed at its centres in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton – anyone interested in volunteering can visit:

VISION 2020 UK secures funding for data collection of Public Health Indicator on eye health.

April 2016

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration and co-operation between organisations across the eye health and sight loss sectors, has secured funding for data collection based on the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) to continue maintaining the public health indicator on eye health.

The public health indicator uses the information gathered through the CVI to populate the National Health Indicator on sight loss, allowing open access to information at a local level on AMD, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

The CVI is the first step in the formal mechanism for registering someone in England and Wales as visually impaired.

The history of data collection on vision impairment goes back to 1851 when the number of people with vision impairment was first reported. In 2000 the Department of Health (DH) decided that the Office of National Statistics would no longer analyse the data. With the agreement of the DH, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Moorfields, the CVI data was sent for analysis to Moorfields NHS Trust where the data was manually entered onto a database and analysed.

In the past, the funding for the CVI team has been from charities such as the RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind. As funding was due to cease in April 2016, the VISION 2020 UK CVI Task and Finish Group have had to hasten discussions with Public Health England to reach a successful agreement.

The information provided by 15 years of uninterrupted data from this source has already provided extremely valuable epidemiological information on which almost all research into population eye health relies.

The data is used in local needs assessments and to plan local services. If clinicians failed to offer this certification then many people would lose access to specialised social care support.

The data has also uncovered unexpected trends of great significance in combatting sight loss, such as the evidence reported in 2014 that for the first time in at least five decades, inherited retinal conditions had overtaken diabetes as the leading cause of certifiable blindness in the working age population.

VISION 2020 UK CEO Mercy Jeyasingham, commented, “We would like to thank Professor Croisdale-Appleby and the Task and Finish Group for their excellent work in securing this funding. This cross-sector collaboration highlights the important work of VISION 2020 UK and our commitment to protecting this public health indicator and the valuable information it provides.”

Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, Chair of VISION 2020 UK Certificate of Vision Impairment Task and Finish Group, said “This is a very positive step towards our long-term goal of an electronic CVI instead of the current manual system and the easier access to this data that would benefit everyone.”

On Line Lipreading Practice Website Joins Charity Page Listing.

April 2016

Gloria MacGregor

Created by Gloria MacGregor after her own trials following a sudden loss of hearing we highlight her lipreading practice website which has become the Go To site to learn lip reading in the UK. Her full site information can be found from PHN's Charity Listing Page and you can read about Gloria's experience in our latest profile pages.

PHN welcomes charities and support groups from the hard of hearing and deaf sector to send PR and information to them at

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