Sight impairment and severe sight impairment certifications and registrations update

  • 04 Mar 2021
  • RCOphth

The number of sight impairment and severe sight impairment certifications (CVI) decreased dramatically in April – June 2020. However, with improvement in the pandemic situation, the numbers increased to pre-pandemic levels by September. Numbers dropped to about 80% of the pre-pandemic level in January – February 2021. There remains a substantial backlog of people not offered certification during the lockdowns.

We need to encourage ophthalmic care teams to identify patients not offered CVI’s during the Covid-19 pandemic and explain the benefits of registration to them.

Numbers of CVIs for epidemiological analysis received at the RCOphth co Certifications office based at Moorfields Eye Hospital from eye units in England and Wales, monthly January 2017 February 2021

In January and February 2021 60% CVIs were received via secure NHS email compared to 20% in April 2020.

Where to find the CVI form

Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form and Referral of Vision Impairment (RVI) letter template for consultant ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Where to send the CVI form

Eye clinics in England should send the CVI form (where the patient has given consent /or the parent or guardian if the patient is a child) for epidemiological analysis via secure e-mail or via post using the details below.

E-mail: [email protected]

Post: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists c/o Certifications Office, Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road London EC1V 2PD.

England Eye clinic staff – please use secure NHS mail for emailing CVI’s rather than sending hard copies via post. NHSmail is authorised for sending patient identifiable information between and other addresses.

Why CVI data is important

The certification of vision impairment (CVI) process provides an estimate of the level of visual impairment both at a local and national level and as well as providing essential data for needs assessment by social services. CVI also provides essential data for preventable sight loss indicators as part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) published annually by the Department of Health and Social Care E12a-E12d (AMD, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, completions of CVIs all causes).

CVIs and the Local Authority’s register of blind or partially sighted people

People that have a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) from an ophthalmologist can choose whether or not to be included in their Local Authority’s register of blind or partially sighted people; registration is not automatic. Those that register become eligible for important concessions and support.

Information on adults and children registered as being blind or partially sighted with Local Authorities in England is available on this NHS website.