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Ophthalmic Services Guidance

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is the guardian of excellence in ophthalmology. It aims to set standards in all aspects of ophthalmology to achieve high-quality care and protect patient safety. Ophthalmic services guidance is intended to inform ophthalmologists and those managing eye services how to best provide services, clearly identifying standards of practice to be achieved through adequate staffing levels and skill mix, proper facilities and appropriate resourcing. See also College Quality Standards, which are easy to use self-assessment tools for measuring achievements against subspecialty and specific patient group service standards.

Ophthalmic Services Guidance Chapter Brief Description
Ophthalmic outpatient department
Provides information and advice on the points to consider when planning efficient and high quality ophthalmic outpatient services
Ophthalmic imaging
Provides an overview of current ophthalmic imaging technologies and their clinical applications.  It also provides recommendations on minimum ophthalmic imaging requirements for hospital eye services and related information technology and information governance requirements
Emergency eye care in hospital eye units and secondary care
Provides information on good practice for urgent and emergency secondary emergency ophthalmic care.
Eye Care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)


Advice and information for clinical staff involved in eye care in the ICU to protect the eye in vulnerable patients, identify disease affecting the eye in ITU patients, and specifically those which might need ophthalmic referral and deliver treatment to the eye when it is prescribed.
Provides detailed information on facilities and practice for safe eye surgery and ophthalmic procedures (advice –currently being updated).
Ophthalmic daycare and inpatient facilities
Provides information and advice on the facilities and staffing for daycare and inpatient ophthalmic care (advice – currently being updated).
Ophthalmic instrument decontamination
Explains requirements for the effective decontamination of re-usable surgical instruments (or other clinical devices used in direct contact with tissues) to minimise transmission of infection.
Ophthalmic pathology
This is based on joint guidance document of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and The Royal College of Pathologists on the management of ophthalmic pathology specimens
Healthcare informatics
Provides a glossary and basic introduction to healthcare informatics relating to ophthalmology and references for further reading.
Eye care services for adults with learning disabilities
Provides guidance and support to help ophthalmologists provide insightful and quality care for patients with LD. See also the General Medical Council’s interactive learning sessions on  patients with LD on its website.
Managing an outbreak of postoperative endophthalmitis
Advice on the identification and management of an outbreak of post ophthalmic procedure endophthalmitis, concentrating on cataract surgery, but also applicable to other intraocular procedures including intravitreal injections. A summary sheet and check list is included.
Ophthalmic services for children
Consensus advice on best practice and minimum standards for health services for children with ophthalmic disorders.
Primary care ophthalmology
This guidance is to help those designing and commissioning eye care to improve the value of their services and explore care across primary and secondary care boundaries (advice – needs update).
Standards for virtual clinics in glaucoma care in the NHS hospital eye service
This provides advice on how to deliver virtual clinics, a relatively new model of service delivery, in secondary care in glaucoma to help deal with increasing patient numbers. The document reflects the findings of The Way Forward Project and should help to standardise glaucoma virtual clinic provision.
Sustainability in Ophthalmology
Global resources are finite; as this becomes more apparent the concept of sustainability in healthcare is becoming more important. This paper has been created by a group of people from a wide variety of disciplines to inform, guide, provoke thought and offer practical solutions to some of the sustainability issues within ophthalmology.
Management of Retinal Detachment
Advice on the management of acute retinal detachment (advice – requires update).
Delivery of Diabetic Eye Care
(March 2009)
This chapter addresses issues of provision of care for patients with retinopathy referred to the hospital eye service (advice – requires update).


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