To mark National Eye Health Week the Programme Lead for EyesWise discusses the need for promoting the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all:
Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don’t know how to look after our eyes – National Eye Health Week aims to change this.
The need for awareness is clear:
- More than 1.5 million people in England have reduced vision. It is estimated that this figure will double by 2050.
- The latest NHS Digital data from 2017 shows ophthalmology referrals to hospital eye services rose just over 12% from 2013/14 to 2017/18 and now account for just over 8% of outpatient appointments.
- More treatments for chronic ophthalmic disease are available that require regular, timely attendance to prevent permanent visual loss, contributing to capacity issues.
National Eye Health Week is an opportunity to promote the excellent work being delivered across the NHS to improve the nation’s eye health.
This week the Elective Care Transformation Programme have contacted hospital eye services across the country to request their support in capturing patient stories of ophthalmology care.
The 100 Voices campaign, launched by NHS England and Improvement’s National Elective Care Transformation programme with support from the Royal National Institute for Blind People, the Macular Society, the International Glaucoma Association and the Patient Experience Network, will share people’s stories with key staff who plan, pay for and provide services to help them take decisions as they transform eye services for the future.
We would like to encourage all hospital eye services to identify patients in their local health economy who would like to tell their story of using hospital eye service since April 2018 and share this link to our online form so they can give their stories.
We believe these stories and voices will give them and their commissioners real insight into patients’ experiences, so the information can be used when setting priorities and taking decisions on eye services. Stories from 100 Voices will be shared with the public via the NHS England and NHS Improvement channels, including YouTube, the website and social media.
100 Voices is part of the wider EyesWise programme, which feeds into the work being undertaken to implement the outpatient transformation commitments of the NHS Long Term Plan and avoid up to a third of face-to-face outpatient appointments over the next five years.
You can also sign up to the EyesWise hub on the Elective Care Community of Practice, which has examples of excellent eye services, failsafe prioritisation models, case studies, and other resources developed during our High Impact Intervention programme. Please email ECDCfirstname.lastname@example.org for access.
- National Eye Health Week takes place from 23 to 29 September