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Low vision and CVI

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There are almost two million people living with sight loss in the UK with about 360,000 registered as sight impaired and severely sight impaired [1].

Access to low vision and other support services can vary across the UK, so it is important to be aware of how you can help by offering local services or by signposting people so they get the support they need.  

Providing low vision services

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) provides dispensing opticians with opensource guidance and advice on offering vision services. Learn more.

The College of Optometrists provides opensource guidance on assessing and managing patients with low vision. This includes guidance on completing a Referral of Visual Impairment (RVI) form for patients who consent and are based in England.

Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI)

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) provides extensive guidance on completing a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI). This includes video and other resources which help explain the CVI process, including benefits for patients.

Other support

It is best to remind people with vision loss that it is still important to have regular eye examinations. As well as this and your own local low vision services, there are many charities and support groups that can help, these include:


Originally published: September 2018

Reviewed: January 2020

Next review date: March 2022

Info: Reviewed as part of FODO's website upgrade. Data on prevalence added with other supporting information. No material changes made. 

References and notes

The next review was originally planned for December 2021. This was changed due to prioritising work during the pandemic.

[1] NHS, Blindness and vision loss,, accessed 25 November 2019.