SUNDERLAND MP Julie Elliott visited a Wearside health centre to find out about the vital work staff do with people who have lost their sight.
The representative for Sunderland Central met an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at Sunderland Eye Infirmary.
The ECLO is employed by Action for Blind People, part of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) group, in partnership with City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust and Sunderland City Council.
They provide practical and emotional support, speaking to people who have been newly diagnosed with a serious eye condition.
ECLOs can offer patients the time that they need to discuss their condition and diagnosis, and to learn about practical help and solutions to help them cope with the difficulties they face due to their sight loss.
Ms Elliott said: “I am pleased to be able to find out more about the brilliant work that Eye Clinic Liaison Officers carry out at the eye clinics.
“It’s a service which provides essential support to people who have been newly diagnosed.” The ECLO at Sunderland Eye Infirmary is part-time and is funded from a number of different sources.
Not all eye clinics have an ECLO who can help support people at the time of sight loss – with few available for every clinic day.
Lucy Dixon, RNIB regional campaign officer the North East, said: “At RNIB we know that sight loss can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. Stepping outside the hospital after first being diagnosed can be the start of a long journey.
“Not only are ECLOs vital when it comes to providing emotional support for people at a time which can be extremely daunting, but they can also offer important practical support such as helping people to understand the process of becoming registered for their sight loss and transferring people to the right social services departments.”