Referrals and pathways

Please refer your patients to ophthalmology or low vision services promptly.

Hospital referral for wet AMD

Wet age-related macular degeneration is a serious condition which can rapidly lead to permanent sight loss if not treated quickly. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Guidelines on AMD say that a patient with suspected wet AMD should be referred to a retinal specialist or fast track macular clinic on the same day and seen within one week.

The patient should be treated within one week of that appointment.

An optometrist suspecting wet AMD does not need to refer the patient back to their GP. Optometrists can legally refer patients direct to hospital services. They are encouraged to do so both by the Department of Health and their professional bodies because referral back to a GP can cause unnecessary delay.

If you are unable to get a direct referral, please let us know.

Download the Wet AMD care guides and Treatment for macular conditions for further information.

Dry AMD

In many areas, patients with suspected dry AMD are no longer referred to ophthalmology. More optometry practices have OCT equipment and some optometrists have low vision qualifications as well. Patients who are not referred to ophthalmology need good quality information about their condition, including something to take away to read in their own time. They should be told how to look after their eyes and how to monitor their vision in case their dry AMD becomes wet.

Please signpost your patients to us so they can use our services.

Download the Dry AMD care guides and Treatment for macular conditions for further information.

Low vision referrals

Early referral to low vision services makes a great difference to the way a person learns to cope with their sight loss and to use low vision aids. A patient should be referred to a low vision service as soon as glasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Please do not wait until all medical interventions have been exhausted.

Other choroidal neovascular conditions

Other CNV conditions include myopic maculopathy, Sorsby’s fundus dystrophy and PXE. There is no licensed treatment for Sorsby’s fundus dystrophy and PXE.

We provide a free advocacy service for patients who are having difficulty obtaining treatment. For more information contact the helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org

Referrals to sensory impairment team

When an individual's sight loss impacts on their daily life they should be referred to the sensory impairment team or to professionals such as Rehabilitation Officers for the Visually Impaired (ROVIs). Referral allows individuals to be assessed for their support needs and given practical support and advice. In certain cases they can also be provided with equipment such as task lighting, a symbol cane (used to indicate sight loss to the public) and non-optical low vision aids.

Visual impairment is strongly associated with a higher risk of falling and patients will benefit from guidance on orientation techniques and mobility training to help reduce this risk. Training might include finding safer walking routes to the shops, public transport advice, improving your navigation skills indoors or learning to use a long cane.

Daily living skills can help somebody with a range of things including communication, safe food preparation, personal appearance and handling medication. The team name and services provided may vary but their support can help an individual to maintain their confidence and independence. Referrals can be made by telephoning, completing a Low Vision leaflet, an RVI form or by an ophthalmologist completing the CVI.