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Updated Ophthalmic Service Guidance for paediatric ophthalmology (2021)

19 August 2021

We’ve updated our Ophthalmic Service Guidance for paediatric ophthalmology! Our 2021 guidance represents the expert consensus, based on available evidence and national guidance, of the Paediatric Sub-committee of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth).

Read the Ophthalmic Service for Children Guidance (2021)

It highlights best practice and fundamental standards for children’s ophthalmic services. It should be read in conjunction with the RCOphth Quality Standards for paediatric ophthalmology services and RCOphth principles and generic information to inform commissioning of paediatric ophthalmology services.

Guidance for the eye care community

This guidance has primarily been written for healthcare professionals and managers working in the Hospital Eye Service (HES) but should also be of interest to those working in community and primary care eye care services including orthoptists, optometrists, general practitioners, and commissioners.

It contains information about topics vital to everyday practice and links these with the quality standards, including:

  • Health needs relevant to paediatric ophthalmology
  • Staff and the paediatric ophthalmology team (Quality standards 1a,1b)
  • Referrals into hospital
  • Paediatric Outpatient Clinics (Quality Standards 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13,19, 22, 26, 27, 28)
  • Communication and Support (Quality Standards 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24 & 25)
  • Extended Roles (Quality standard 7)
  • On-call arrangements (Quality standard 8)
  • Safeguarding (Quality standard 6)
  • Transition (Quality Standards 13,16, 17)
  • Day case, Surgery and Inpatient care (Quality Standard 11)
  • Specialised ophthalmic services for children.

Infants and children with ophthalmic disorders

This guidance applies to infants, children and young people with ophthalmic disorders. Infants include pre-term neonates up to the age of 1 and children refers to those between the ages of 1 year and 10 years. Adolescents are defined from 10-19 years of age. In line with the new transition of care guidance, the term “young people” refers to those from 10 years up to 25 years.

Defining ophthalmic disorders

The term ophthalmic disorders include ocular and adnexal (surrounding structures) disease, ocular motility or binocular vision problems, visual processing disorders, cerebral visual disorders, and visual impairment.

The authors of this guidance are the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Paediatric Sub-Committee.

More Ophthalmic Services Guidance

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists promotes excellence in ophthalmology. We aim to set standards in all aspects of ophthalmology to achieve high-quality care and protect patient safety.

Our guidance is intended to inform ophthalmologists, those managing eye services and the wider eye care community. We provide information on service provision, clearly identifying standards of practice to be achieved through adequate staffing levels and skill mix, proper facilities and appropriate resourcing.

Read other guidance documents

Questions or comments

If you have any further queries regarding this guidance, please contact Laurelle Bygraves, Professional standards assistant, by email at [email protected].