Visual Impairment & Low Vision Services

As community based eye care professionals we are well placed to discuss low vision aids, magnifiers and lighting but also to provide information to patients about correct pathways, resources, charities and support available locally to allow independent living.

Referral for registration can be done via the Essex LOC referral form which has a specific tick box for CVI (Certificate for Vision Impairment) registration.  Criteria for registration includes both visual acuity and field loss. Please ensure that all referrals are filled in clearly including previous ocular history.

There are two levels of registration for Visual Impairment:

Sight Impaired:substantially and permanently handicapped by defective vision caused by congenital defect or illness or injury
Visual acuity between 3/60 and 6/60 with full visual fields.
Visual acuity of up to 6/24 with a moderately reduced visual fields.
Visual acuity of 6/18 with a significantly reduced visual fields.
Severely Sight Impaired: “so blind as to be unable to do any work for which sight is essential
Visual acuity of less than 3/60 with full visual fields.
Visual acuity between 3/60 and 6/60 with a severe reduction of visual fields.
Visual acuity of 6/60 or above with very reduced visual fields especially with inferior field loss.

Anyone can have access to an LVA assessment without certification.

Support with understanding where to send your referrals
You can redirect patients to one of our local charities for their low vision disabilities using the form NEW-ECL-Sensory-Service-Referral-Form-2023-blank-1

Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs)

Colchester and Southend trusts have ECLO who work in hospital eye clinics to support people diagnosed with sight loss, they have been specifically trained by RNIB:

ECLO list 2022details changing as for Feb 2024
Southend ECLO: Tracey 01702 435555 Ext 7025 – details changing as for Feb 2024
Broomfield ECLO: Christine Pratt christine.pratt@nhs.netdetails changing as for Feb 2024
Colchester ECLO: Christine 01206 548196
Orsett / Thurrock ECLO: Sarah Jane Piper 07962 180390
Whipps Cross ECLO: Kate Kotschy 07895214871

Nationally RNIB also have sight loss advisers that can be contacted on their helpline 0303 123 9999.

More information can be found at

Support for Visually Impaired People (VIPs)

What next for people recently diagnosed with a visual impairment?

ECL Sensory Service (Essex Cares Ltd)
ECL run a Sensory Service and they are the first call if you are worried about a patient’s sensory needs. They can refer to other disciplines for support and also triage out to the Charities. Contact details: 0333 013 3262,
ECL Sensory Action Alliance Leaflet
ECL Sensory Champion Leaflet

ECL Sensory Service provide Sighted Guides and Communicator Guides that are trained and experienced in guiding, communicating and appropriately supporting people with visual impairments and dual sensory impairments (deafblind) in the home and out in the community. Patients can take advantage of these to help them when attending appointments etc. More info at
ECL Sighted & Communicator Guide Flyer

We have 4 charities in Essex – Bounded by postcodes:

Each Sight Charity has a main resource centre were patients can go and “try and buy” RNIB and other products.  There are also “pop up” centres across the county – phone your nearest one for more information.
The October/November 2021 version of Spotlight – an publication produced by Essex Sight

Resource Centres for Visually Impaired People
Find your resource centre according to your postcode using: Postcode areas covered by vision services. A list of resource centres for VIPs (Nov 2014). Please see websites for the individual services listed above for up to date listings.