DoH Guidance on Visual Impairments as a Disability

  • BrailleThe Department of Health has published information on how to register a vision impairment as a disability.

    Being registered as partially sighted or blind enables that person to access a range of benefits to help them manage their condition and the impact it may have on their lives.

     The documents published on Department's website include a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form, which formally certifies someone as visually impaired, explanatory notes about the CVI form for consultant ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff to help them manage the completion of the form, and a referral letter which can be used to request social needs assessment from the local council or a designated agency.

    These documents were previously on an NHS web portal that is no longer in use and have now been moved to the department's website. As a result, some of the links have been removed to reflect this change. The contact details on the last page of the explanatory notes have also been amended.

    The documents act as a resource for patients, their representatives, GPs and eye specialists:

    The CVI form is for use by the patient or representative, consultant ophthalmologist and hospital eye clinic staff. It formally certifies someone as visually impaired, and also acts as a referral for a social care assessment, if the individual is not yet known to social services. Its secondary purpose is to record data to be used by Moorfields Eye Hospital for research at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists into the underlying causes and the effects of visual impairment.

    The explanatory notes are for ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff and explain the process for managing and completing the CVI form and referral letter.

    The referral letter is to be used by hospital eye clinic staff, with the consent of the patient, as a referral to request a social needs assessment from the local council or a designated agency. The letter is likely to be used where registration is not currently appropriate, or the patient has declined registration but he or she wishes for advice and information about social, emotional or practical difficulties arising from serious loss of vision.


    See DoH web page where this information is available.

    Image source:

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