Registering vision impairment as a disability

How to manage and complete the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form and Referral of Vision Impairment (RVI) letter.



The explanatory notes for ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff explain the process for managing and completing the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form.

The CVI form is issued to a patient assessed by a consultant ophthalmologist as being visually impaired. The form is then sent to social services who work with the person to assess what help and advice they need. The form also records data for research into the causes and the effects of visual impairment. The current version of the CVI should always be used. Any stocks of earlier versions of the CVI should be destroyed.

Both the CVI form and the explanatory notes were updated after a consultation.

With the assistance of Seeability, we’ve produced an easy read letter template for use with the completed CVI form.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has produced a large print version of the CVI in 22 point. The RNIB has also produced a plain text version of the form. The plain text version may work better with patients’ screen readers than the form itself.

The Referral of Vision Impairment (RVI) letter is used where registration is not appropriate or where the patient has declined registration but wants advice and information about the difficulties caused by loss of vision.

Being registered as partially sighted or blind enables a person to access a range of benefits to help them manage their condition and the impact it may have on their lives. Registration is voluntary, and access to benefits and social services is not dependent on registration.

Published 9 January 2013
Last updated 17 August 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated CVI form and explanatory notes. Added easy read letter, plain text version of the CVI form and large font version of the CVI form.
  2. First published.