ECLOs, also known as sight loss advisers, provide practical and emotional support to people who have been newly diagnosed with an eye condition. People who may have been living with sight loss for some years can also visit them for extra help and advice. They can offer patients the time that they need to discuss their eye condition and diagnosis, and to learn about practical help and solutions available. The visit, organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), highlights this essential work.

Kevan Jones MP said: “It was very interesting to hear from constituents who have recently lost their sight and to find out about the huge impact it has had on their lives.

“Eye Clinic Liaison Officers provide essential support to people in Durham who have been newly diagnosed with sight loss and don’t know where to turn.”

Lucy Dixon, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for 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.”

Cathie Burke, Action for Blind People ECLO at Sunderland Eye Infirmary, added: “No one should face sight loss alone. Providing this service is fundamental for people in Durham and ensures that everyone who is affected by sight loss has the opportunity to gain the support they need in order to lead fulfilled and meaningful lives.”