Commissioning and provision of low vision services should be reviewed to deliver more accessible and integrated care for patients in England, a survey has found.

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) explored the impact of the pandemic on low vision assessment services between April 2020 and March 2021.

In its five week survey carried out in April 2022, it found a variation in the use of service specifications, protocols and thresholds for low vision assessments.

Parul Desai, chair of the CCEHC, said: ‘Many providers have tried to ensure safe services and looked to innovative solutions. The learning from Covid-19 is already changing the way some low vision services are delivered.

‘We encourage all commissioners and providers of eye health services to review their current low vision assessment service provision, particularly use of remote consultations for pre-assessment review and follow up or monitoring; and their processes for ensuring equitable access to services meeting consistent standards of care.

‘The development of more integrated low vision services has significant benefits for patients, practitioners and organisations across health and social care. The CCEHC will be considering further phases of work to monitor progress.’

CCECHC recommendations included managing backlogs through risk assessments and triage, reviewing protocols and pathways to explore potential for more integrated services, and developing service specifications and quality standards as part of a whole systems approach.