Certification and registration for children and young people
By certifying your child’s vision impairment and registering with your local authority, you can access more support for you and your child. Here we explain the process and the benefits of registering.
What is a Certificate of Vision Impairment?
A Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) is a formal document that states that your child has significant sight loss that can’t be corrected.
In England and Wales, it’s called a CVI, in Scotland a BP1, and in Northern Ireland an A655.
Applying for a Certificate of Vision Impairment
- The certificate can only be completed by an ophthalmologist, who measures your child’s ability to see detail (visual acuity) and the entire area across which they can see (visual field). You can get a referral to an ophthalmologist from your doctor or an optometrist at your local opticians.
- The ophthalmologist decides whether your child meets the certification criteria either as severely sight impaired or sight impaired.
- A copy of the certificate is then sent to your local authority, your doctor, Moorfields Eye Hospital (which collects information about eye conditions to help improve eye care services) and to you.
The ophthalmologist may decide not to certify your child until they’re older, when the responses to the tests will be more accurate. Even if your child has a diagnosed vision impairment, they may not meet the criteria for certification. For example, if your child is blind in one eye, they won’t be eligible to be certified, unless the other eye is also significantly impaired as well.
Registering your child with the local authority
If your child has been certified as having a vision impairment, a copy of that certificate is sent to your local authority Education/Sensory Support Team (the name may differ, depending on the local authority). The team then contacts you to ask if you would like to register your child.
If you choose to register your child, the local authority specialist service will:
- Ask if you want your child to be added to their confidential register for blind and partially sighted people.
- Arrange a needs assessment to talk about how to support your child. This could include help getting early years support, the appropriate education for your child and any relevant support from social care.
The local authority can, in the future, withdraw your child’s registration if their vision significantly improves. Equally, your child may choose to remove themselves from the register when they’re older.
Benefits of registering with the local authority
It’s completely up to you if you want to register your child or not, but if you do it can open the door to more support and benefits for you and your family.
After your child’s registration is approved by your local authority, you will be given a registration card. This card is simple to carry around, so you can use it to show proof of your child's vision impairment if needed when out and about. However, it cannot be used to apply for the Disability Living Allowance; for this you need the certification paperwork.
Registration comes with different benefits, depending on your child's age and whether they're registered as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind):
It’s easier to apply for welfare benefits such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP), once your child is certified and registered. DLA is available up to the age of 16, but if your child is 16 years or over then they can apply for PIP. Both help with some of the extra costs brought about by having sight loss.
Transport concessions, for example a Disabled Person’s Railcard or free use of local buses.
Reduced TV Licence fee.
Car parking concessions with the Blue Badge Scheme, which can be used in any car your child is travelling in (if registered as severely sight impaired).