What is a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) and how do I get one?

A Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) formally certifies that someone has sight loss. It also acts as a referral for a social care assessment if you are not yet known to social services.

Getting referred 

Both opticians and GPs can refer to get a specialist medical opinion on your eye health. This maybe direct from the optician, via your GP or via a specialist optician. The process varies according to where you live but your optician or GP can explain what happens in your area.

Getting certified

Once you've been referred, an ophthalmologist will carry out an assessment to measure how good you are at seeing detail at a distance (your visual acuity) and how much you can see from the side of your eye when you're looking straight ahead (your field of vision).

They will then decide if you are eligible for your sight loss to be certified. Depending on the results of these tests, the consultant will complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) to certify you as either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted).

When the Ophthalmologist (eye doctor) signs the form, they are certifying that you are eligible to be registered with your council. You will also be asked to sign the form. They may tell you that they are registering you; however they are only completing the CVI, which is only the first stage of the registration process.

When you are being certified, you will be asked if you consent to your information being shared. Copies and the information on your CVI is shared with you, kept in your hospital record, sent to your local council sensory impairment team, your GP and to the Certifications office at Moorfields hospital. You can withdraw your consent at anytime by contacting the relevant organisation. 

For information on the eye clinic assessment and criteria for certification see What happens during the eye clinic assessment for a certification of vision impairment (CVI)? and What is the eye sight criteria for a certificate of vision impairment (CVI)?

For information on how to get registered once you have a CVI see How do I register as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind)?

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