Monday 26 November 2012

Eye health indicator details revealed

Details of how the first-ever public health indicator for preventable sight loss will be measured were released this week and have been welcomed by the eye sector. 
The indicator will be introduced as part of the public health outcomes framework in England next April and will monitor the major causes of preventable sight loss in adults. 
Public Health England, the organisation responsible for the framework, will assess how many people are registered as sight impaired or severely impaired who have lost their sight as a result of one of the three major causes of preventable sight loss – glaucoma, AMD and diabetic retinopathy. 
Coinciding with the update, a briefing, which explains in more detail how individual stakeholders such as optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists and people within the voluntary sector working with sight loss can raise awareness of the new indicator among key decision-makers, has been released.
Welcoming the ‘Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority’ document, which was launched on Tuesday (November 20), Anita Lightstone, programme director for the UK Vision Strategy Programme, said: “This briefing will help everyone involved with eye health to speak with one voice to highlight why this indicator is so important.”
Parliamentary under-secretary of state for quality, Lord Howe, commented: “Including the preventable sight loss indicator in the public health outcomes framework will be valuable in helping drive up standards in eye care.
“I welcome this briefing and encourage the eye health sector to use it in delivering and promoting the indicator.”
Ms Lightstone added: “By working together the eye health sector has ensured that preventable sight loss has been recognised by the Government as a public health priority for the first time. 
“This major achievement is one further crucial step on our journey to improving the eye health of the nation. We must continue to work together to ensure health and wellbeing boards, public health professionals, clinical commissioning groups and the new local eye health networks reflect this new indicator in their joint health and wellbeing strategies, their join strategic needs assessments and commissioning and service development plans.

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