A thought-provoking gathering of some of the leading figures in the world of eye health came together in central London at a summit organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The leading sight loss charity invited figures from medicine, healthcare, industry and other charities to its one-day networking and discussion event.
The See the Future Differently conference took place at County Hall in Central London. The day-long event featured sector-wide keynote speakers and open discussions around vital issues in healthcare aiming to identify steps to deliver real change and better outcomes for blind and partially sighted people.
For many invitees, the event was the first physical opportunity to gather for a summit of this kind since the onset of the pandemic and was also a first for RNIB to demonstrate its leadership in the sight loss conversation.
For those unable to attend in person, the event was also streamed online and was wholly interactive, enabling remote participants to ask questions of panellists and join in the debate.
Among those attending the event were John Ashcroft, National Director for Eye Care Recovery and Transformation with NHS England, Professor John Marshall, Frost Professor of Ophthalmology at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London and Marsha de Cordova MP, who chairs the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on Eye Health and Visual Impairment.
The day was divided into three over-arching topics:
- Ensuring appropriate support is in place for patients receiving a sight loss diagnosis
- Mental health and wellbeing, the role of physical activity in supporting mental health and closing gaps in provision for patients experiencing the emotional impact of sight loss
- Prevention, cures and treatments: moving more efficiently from concept to patient use
Keith Valentine, RNIB’s Director of External Affairs, said:
“RNIB is extremely grateful to all the speakers and contributors who shared their knowledge and opinions to ensure such a successful event. One of the key themes that emerged throughout the day was the importance of collaboration across the whole sight loss sector to make lives better for blind and partially sighted people.
“I believe this event marks the beginning of much exciting work in the future, and this is only really made possible through the ground-breaking nature of bringing together so many influential figures at the RNIB summit.”
Marsha de Cordova MP and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment said:
“It was a joy to be invited to speak at the RNIB See the Future Differently summit, which was a fantastic opportunity to bring together so many people working to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
“This event feels particularly timely because we have seen how the lives of people with sight loss were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, from difficulty accessing priority shopping slots to obtaining vaccine advice in accessible formats. As we set about recovering from the impact of coronavirus, it is only by working together at events like this that we will be able to seize new opportunities to make real change to the daily lives of blind and partially sighted people.”
The findings and contributions from the day will be taken away and considered and will help shape the future direction of RNIB’s work to ensure no patient goes through a sight loss diagnosis without support.