Low Vision Steering Group

Special Interest: sub-groups and working parties

There are currently three sub-groups linked to the Low Vision Steering Group:

Click on the images or header to find out about the activities of the three Sub-groups

Black and Minority Issues

Picture of the Mary Bairstow (Implementation Officer) at a Temple in Birmingham. Link to Black and Minority Issues group

Children and Young People

A picture of the sub-group working out the priorities for their work with researcher Andy Gibson. Link to Children and Young People group

Learning Disabilities

A picture of the person using symbols in an eye examination. Link to Learning Disabilities group

Emotional Support

A working group was also established to provide some guidance on Emotional Support. The document, written by Mary Norowzian from RNIB, can be found in Publications

Low Vision and Black and Minority Ethnic Issues



This group has members who have direct experience in working with people from black and minority ethnic communities (BME).

It is trying to investigate the number of people from Black and minority ethnic groups that currently access services and hopes to develop two toolkits/guidance packs. One will be aimed at the Communities to help increase awareness of the value of LV Services. The other will be aimed at professionals providing services to help them address the specific needs of these Communities. Other activities are the development of a ‘low vision leaflet’ and a ‘video’.

Both Jasbir Behal and Mary Bairstow recently had the opportunity to present at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment

Presentations from APPG in the presentations section

One useful activity of the group has been the circulation of various documents. Some of these can be found in the publications section.
They have had an opportunity to direct the LVSCs to useful links including some on the Department Of Heath website and various pieces of research including some by Seeability and The Thomas Pocklington Trust.


January 2006 - May 2006 - September 2006 - January 2007 - June 2007

Children and Young People’s Sub-group


One of the first activities of the sub-group was to advise the LVSCs about the need for members with an interest in children and low vision. A guidance document was circulated. One important step has been to ask the LVSCs to endorse the Children’s Charter. This document has also being promoted by the Early Support Programme – an initiative that the sub-group is keen to support.

In 2007 the sub-group agreed to try and assess the impact of the Charter for LVSCs. We are very grateful to Prof Mary Boulton (School of Health and Social Care, Oxford Brookes University) the original author who has devised a questionaire for this purpose. We expect to report back early in 2008.


In May 2006 The group organised a conference aimed at encouraging multi-disciplinary working. The conference attracted a wide range of professionals and workshops and discussion group activities were well received. One emerging theme from the day was the need for national guidance on low vision services. On the day, five workshops discussed various issues and their conclusions are recorded in a presentation.
The conference was reported on in "The Optician".
Key note topics and some of the presentations can be found in presentations section

The second conference will take place on May 8th 2008 at the Together Trust Conference Centre, Cheadle, south of Manchester. Details are being finalised but the aim of the day is to build on the issue of standards raised at the first conference. In 2007 the Department of Health (DH) issued new guidance – but this is for adult services. The sub-group has written to the DH about this. On May 8th we will use the opportunity to draft a new set of guidance. Speakers from Birmingham Focus on Blindness and the Arrowe Park Hospital (Wirral) have agreed to outline examples of good practice.

Other work in progress

The group has been looking at various matters that will help the LVSCs.
Each LVSC has been encouraged to identify a representative for Children’s services. A number of LVSCs have created separate sub groups or working groups.
Discussions on how best to support young people and their families through diagnosis to adulthood is progressing.
The need to produce child appropriate low vision equipment has been raised by a service user ( a mother of a young child who has low vision). A day is to be organised when young people can question manufacturers.

Recent Documents

The sub-group has produced a document outlining the current pathways in Children’s Low Vision.
A presentation explaining how and why we produced the pathway is available in presentations.


July 2004 - November 2004 - March 2005 - June 2005 - January 2006 - April 2006 - September 2006 - February 2007 - May 2007

Useful links and research

The group has brought various Documents and articles to the attention of the LVSCs

The Welsh referral scheme
Paediatric low-vision assessment and management in a specialist clinic in the UK (Manchester)
Developing an integrated paediatric low vision service

General Documents of Interest

Better Safe than Sorry – preventing unintentional injury to children
Growing Up Matters - better transition planning for young people with complex needs

Learning disabilities sub-group

The group is chaired by Gill Levy from SeeAbility


The group has written some guidance for the LVSCs about Learning Disabilities it has also suggested LVSCs make contact with Learning Disability Partnerships and has produced a ‘sample’ letter to encourage contact.

Work in Progress

The group began a piece of work to help update an old RNIB resource that identified those optometrists able to offer a service to people with a learning disability.
Fortunately for the group, RNIB and Seeability have collaborated to create Look Up - an information service focusing on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities. Part of this resource aims to create a national register of eye care and vision services for people who have a learning disability.
The group has offered support and has asked LVSCs to encourage optometrists and opticians to register.
Some members of the group have contributed to the Low Vision factsheet on the site and LVSCs have been alerted to this.

Other work includes the development of a ‘model’ for low vision services and learning disability and investigation into the training needs of both eye care and other care professionals.

Recently the group, keen to keep a strategic focus have produced a work plan and Terms of Reference.

References and research

Like the other groups they have identified research and information resources


October 2004 - March 2005 - July 2005 - November 2005 - March 2006 - July 2006 - November 2006 - March 2007