Wales Council of the Blind

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Our work.

About Wales Council of the Blind

"I have found all my contacts with WCB over the years to be so useful and professional." - Rehabilitation Officer for VI.

Wales Council of the Blind is the umbrella agency representing vision impairment within Wales. We work to campaign, lobby and support the improvement of services for people with sight loss. WCB provides a platform vision impaired people to raise their concerns and wishes.

WCB's Articles of Association sets out a way of letting their members contribute to setting priorities and work streams. An important part of the new structure is the creation of Regional Steering Groups to inform WCB's work. The four new Regional Steering Groups will be established across Wales, covering North, West, South East and South Central.

Each group intends to offer a platform for local clubs, charities, statutory services and people with sight loss to get together and contribute to directing the work and resources of WCB. It's likely that priorities may vary from region to region, and we want that to be reflected in the work of WCB.

WCB's Board of Trustees will include four representatives - one nominated from each of the four regional steering groups - to bring the views of the regions to the table.

What does Wales Council of the Blind do?

  • We work to assist the Welsh Government by participating in and facilitating consultation
  • keep in touch with what is happening in every area in Wales and in the U.K.
  • We highlight examples of good practice and distribute this to the eyecare sector through our SYLW newsletter, e-bulletins, quarterly 'Round-Up' Magazine, and our professional networks
  • bring people together to exchange information and ideas
  • identify gaps in provision
  • encourage the development of new services where necessary
  • support and assist other agencies to provide a good service
  • represent v.i. within Wales and at an all-Wales level
  • represent v.i. in Wales at a U.K. level

Latest WCB news.

Have your say on the Eye Care Support Pathway for Wales

WCB has been commissioned to ask the sight loss sector what they think the RNIB Eye Care Support Pathway should look like in Wales, and is asking for the views of service users, eye health professionals and organisations. There are three important service areas on this pathway: health services, social services, and charity (or Third Sector) services.

We have prepared three questionnaires:

Answers must be limited to services in Wales. Background information and contact points are included in the individual questionnaires.

Please complete the questionnaire by 29th February. If you would prefer to telephone us with your answers, you can speak to WCB staff on 029 2047 3954. You can also leave a message if you prefer.

Researching Unpaid Carers.

WCB is initiating research into the experiences of unpaid carers for people with vision impairments and of the people they support.

The purposes of the study are to discover what support is needed by unpaid carers supporting people with vision impairments and whether it is different from that of carers supporting people with other disabilities and conditions. We want also to find out how a carer aids the independence and wellbeing of the person they are supporting.

The researcher is Dr. Vanessa Webb, formerly Director of Wales Council of the Blind (WCB), who is now based in Swansea University. The research is supported by WCB and the Wales Rehabilitation Officers Forum is advising on the research design. When it is completed, it will inform a workshop about carers supporting people with vision impairments organised by WCB. It will also be the subject of reports to practitioners and policy makers.

We are looking for volunteers to agree to be interviewed. We would like to talk with both the v.i. person and the person who supports them. You might be partners, siblings or parent and adult son or daughter. Ideally we would like to interview people aged over 25 and under 75 who have used Wales-based services. The interviews will probably take about 45 minutes each. The interviews can be on-line, by phone or the researcher would come to your home area.

If we are lucky, there will be 20 pairs of volunteers coming forward whose experiences we can study and report back on. All identities and the contents of interviews will be confidential and will be anonymous in any report or presentation.

If you would like to know more about this and may be interested in taking part, you can contact WCB on 029 2047 3954 and they will send you an information sheet with further details.

Wales Eyecare Conference - Presentations available

Copies of presentations made at the Wales Eyecare Conference in November 2023 are now available on the conference website.

Click on the 'Eyecare Conference' tab at the top of this screen, then go to the 'Programme' section.

Optometrists to issue CVIs for the first time.

For the first time in the UK, people with vision impairment will access certification of vision impairment in primary care optometry. Optometrists with relevant qualifications working in Wales can now complete certificates of vision impairment for people with bilateral dry age-related macular degeneration.

Rebecca Bartlett, National Clinical Lead for Wales General Ophthalmic Services said, "We are thrilled that this NHS Wales service is now live. We expect an immediate increase in the number of people accessing certification and the important related support registration brings. We also expect to see a reduction in referrals to hospital eye services which will free up vital appointment slots for other people whose eye conditions need to be seen in this setting.

"The certification of vision impairment in primary care is backed by research performed by Cardiff University and funded by Sight Cymru (Agreement between ophthalmologists and optometrists in the certification of vision impairment | Eye ( This showed comparable agreement between consultant ophthalmologists and LVSW optometrists in the identification of certification eligibility criteria for people with vision impairment and provided evidence to support policy change.

"The introduction of certification of vision impairment in primary care has been driven by the Welsh Government’s optometry contract reform programme that will see the range of NHS-funded eye care services provided by optometrists and dispensing opticians in Wales increased, with each member of the practice team collaborating to work at the top of their respective clinical licence."

Owen Williams, Director of Wales Council of the Blind said, "We are delighted that Certificates of Vision Impairment can now be issued on the high street for patients with bi-lateral dry AMD. The certificate is a crucial document that opens the door to additional support, welfare benefits, financial concessions and services in social care, the third sector, and elsewhere. By avoiding hospital delays, support of this kind can now be delivered more quickly, helping the patient maintain their independence and avoid the downward spiral into vulnerability, debt, and dependency.

"WCB are keen to see more hospital eye services delivered in primary care optometry practices where it is safe to do so, providing patients with a convenient and timely alternative to hospital-based services."

Optometrists in Wales can find out more about participating in the services at Professionals - NHS Wales. Your nearest LVSW optometrist can be found via Perspectif. Type LVSW in the word search and add a postcode to the postcode field.

More information.