March 2012
Volume 53, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   March 2012
The role of the Eye Cinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) - A diary study
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ahalya Subramanian
    Optometry and Visual Science, City University London, London, United Kingdom
  • Hanna Gillespie Gallery
    Optometry and Visual Science, City University London, London, United Kingdom
  • Miriam L. Conway
    Optometry and Visual Science, City University London, London, United Kingdom
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Ahalya Subramanian, None; Hanna Gillespie Gallery, None; Miriam L. Conway, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB, UK)
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 2012, Vol.53, 4407. doi:
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      Ahalya Subramanian, Hanna Gillespie Gallery, Miriam L. Conway; The role of the Eye Cinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) - A diary study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4407.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Visual impairment has not only a functional impact on the visually impaired individual it also has a psychosocial impact. Several studies have suggested that people with visual impairment are prone to depression (Mojon-Azzi et al., 2008). Despite this many visually impaired patients do not receive emotional support and/or counselling. In the United Kingdom the role of the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) (or Eye Care Liaison Officer) was established in eye clinics to provide emotional support to such individuals and to ensure that appropriate referrals for counselling and other services are made. Despite the potential advantages of this unique role it has not been widely rolled out. Unpublished research suggests that the service may not have been widely implemented because clinicians do not understand what services ECLOs provide. The aim of the diary study was to gain a better understanding of the services that ECLOs provide. Findings from this study can be used by clinicians in countries where there is need for such a role.

Methods: : 11 ECLOs kept a diary of their activities with visually impaired individuals for two weeks.

Results: : Data about the patients seen by ECLOs was gathered for 127 clinics (approximately 64 days) and for 390 individual patient meetings. On average an ECLO saw 6 patients per day (range 0-16), spending 45 minutes providing information, referrals and support (30 minutes with the patient and 15 minutes on administration). Meetings with visually impaired individuals lasted from 5 minutes to 2 hours. ECLOs discussed a wide range of topics with patients ranging from information about their eye condition (21.5% of all individuals) to education and employment (6% of all individuals). 30% of the ECLOs time was spent providing emotional support. ECLO mainly referred patients to social services for further help (58.9% of all individuals). 18% of all individuals were also referred to other services such as counselling. ECLOs also provided support to family members of visually impaired patients (11.3% of all individuals).

Conclusions: : ECLOs provide a useful service to visually impaired individuals and this role is best implemented in countries where integrated low vision services are not always available thereby ensuring that visually impaired individuals receive appropriate help particularly emotional support and counselling

Keywords: low vision 

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