Privacy Policy

This policy sets out how The Royal College of Ophthalmologists uses and protects any information that you provide when you use This policy provides information about how we use your data and why we use cookies to enhance your browsing experience. By using this site, mobile website or apps, and/or providing your data and/or information, you are agreeing to the terms set out and consenting to the use of your data and information described in this Privacy & Cookie Policy.

The confidentiality of your information is of paramount concern to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.  We comply with Data Protection LegislationData Protection Guidelines for Charities and Medical Confidentiality Guidelines.  You may wish to review our Data Protection Policy.

RCOphth works to ensure that your privacy is protected and you can be assured that your data will only be used in accordance with this Privacy & Cookie Policy.  Any other data which we collect that cannot be used to personally identify you will only be used to help us make improvements to the site and our communications and marketing in general.

We may amend this Policy from time to time and you are advised to check this site regularly to see if there have been any changes.

What information may we collect when you use this site or when you contact us?
We collect two different types of data: (1) data about you and which you decide to submit and (2) anonymous aggregated data about how visitors use this site and interact with the content on the site.

If you decide to submit data to RCOphth, for example by completing a ‘contact us’ or completing an ‘Equality & Diversity’ form or by contacting us through email or telephone, we may use the information provided to update our database in order that we can identify you as an individual and to enable us to manage our relationship with you as a RCOphth member or other party (such as health care professional, patient or member of the general public) and update and improve the accuracy of our records. We also use that information as further described or referred to in this policy. We refer to any information that may identify you as an individual such as your name and address, as personal data or personal information.

For example, we may collect the following personal information:

  • name and job title
  • age and date of birth
  • contact information including email address
  • information relevant to surveys and consultations
  • information relevant to enquiries from patients and the public

Sometimes you may be asked to submit personal information which is of a more private nature, which we refer to as sensitive personal information, and is required in order that we can, for example generate reports about the services we provide, such as providing examinations and reporting on the equality and diversity of our membership. The data is primarily used for administration and for purposes which RCOphth believes will be of professional benefit to the membership, patients and the wider ophthalmic healthcare professional sector. We restrict access to any individual data to nominated ‘data-controllers’.  All other general reporting is anonymous aggregated data.

We may collect the following sensitive personal information if you decide to give it to us:

  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • ethnic origin
  • sexual orientation
  • employment information if you are applying for a job
  • other lifestyle information

What do we do with the non-personal information we gather?
We may use cookies or other technology to understand how visitors are using our site and responding to certain content and marketing and to improve search engine optimisation. The data is aggregated and anonymous so we cannot identify you personally. We refer to this as non-personal information.

It may be used for:

  • internal record keeping and administration
  • providing and improving member customer services
  • for members: periodically sending eye health information or other information which we think you may find interesting, using the email address or other contact details that you have provided
  • customising the website according to your interests
  • responding to requests from the general public

We may use non-personal data in order that we can learn more about online behaviour to improve our website, mobile website, apps, general marketing and to provide a better user experience. Often we will use cookies for such measurement purposes. From time to time we may also analyse IP addresses, user agent strings or other anonymous data sources too. Non-personal information may be used by us, or disclosed to others, for research or statistical purposes. Any such sharing would be in accordance with legal data sharing agreements that stipulate an agreed, limited purpose and preclude any use for commercial gain.

How long will we keep the data for?
We may hold personal information for as long as it is necessary to do so, having regard to the purposes for which it was collected and the purposes for which it is to be further processed.

Non-personal information may be held for as long as it is necessary in order that we can monitor aggregated statistics about use of our site and user experience.

You should also note the comment in the ‘Controlling your personal information’ section about data deletion.

Security of your personal information
We are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information. In an effort to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place strict physical, electronic and operational procedures intended to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

RCOphth may use third parties to process data on its behalf. Such processing, which may be outside the European Economic Area, is subject to contractual restrictions with regard to confidentiality and security, in addition to the obligations imposed by the Data Protection Act 1998.

If the URL of a web page starts with HTTPS or you see a locked/green padlock symbol, your data should be encrypted when it is sent from your computer to our server. However, we cannot ensure the security of your data when it is being transmitted to our website or other digital sites from other pages and all transmission of personal information and other data is done at your own risk.

Information submitted to us over this website is normally unprotected until it reaches us. In addition, you are requested not to send confidential details or credit card numbers, for example, by email.

Controlling your personal information
On the website you may be asked to fill in a form, register and create an account, update preferences and/or provide the relevant information concerning the services we provide.

Where we have asked you to indicate your consent for us to do so, RCOphth may, on occasion, keep you informed of our services, activities and materials that we consider may be of interest to you. If at any time you no longer wish to receive such information, or have any other Data Protection queries, email [email protected] For College members, you may update some of your preferences and the information you receive from RCOphth in your profile in the password-protected members’ area.

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties and any other organisations to use for their own purposes unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so.

However, you agree that:

We may share your information with selected third parties including (but not limited to):

  • Health partners, suppliers and sub-contractors for the performance of any contract we enter into and/or in order to provide you with the information and/or services requested via the website
  • Web service providers that assist us in the improvement and optimisation of our site

We may disclose your personal information to third parties if we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply the terms of use of our website or any part of it or the terms and conditions of supply of any relevant services and materials and other agreements; or to protect the rights, property, or safety of RCOphth, our members, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction.

You may request details of personal information that we hold about you by exercising your right of ‘data subject access” under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee may be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held about you please contact us.

You can at any time ask us to remove any information that we have stored on you by contacting us. We will retain in our files information you have requested us to remove in some circumstances, such as to resolve disputes, troubleshoot problems, enforce our terms and conditions or as required by our regulators in relation to the services we provide to you. Further, in some circumstances such information is never completely removed from our databases due the fact that we back up our systems.

Therefore, you should not expect that all of your personally identifiable information will be completely removed from our databases in response to your requests that it be removed; for example we may need to keep a record that you have requested your membership to be terminated.

If you wish to know more about how and why we collect your data and how we secure it, please contact us via email at [email protected]

Cookie Policy
The RCOphth make use of cookies to help manage the functionality of the website to provide relevant information and a user-friendly experience. Cookies provide us with information about how the website is used. The data is aggregated and anonymous so we cannot identify you personally. We refer to this as non-personal information.

What are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files that are sent to and stored on your computer, smartphone or other device used to access the internet, whenever you visit a website. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise the device you are using. We use cookies for a variety of reasons, such as to determine user preferences, let you navigate between pages efficiently, verify you and provide the RCOphth with useful information which helps us identify ways to improve the total user experience whilst visiting the website, such as the number of site visits and the most popular pages visited.

The Cookies we use
Cookies set across our website can be in the form of session cookies (lasting only as long as your visit to our website) or persistent cookies (saved on your device for a fixed period), and may use different technologies, such as JavaScript or Flash.

You can choose to manage the cookies we use on our website through your internet browser settings at any time. Certain cookies may be set as soon as you visit our website, but you can remove them using your internet browser settings.

Name of cookie Type of cookie Reason for cookie Description
_UTMZ 1st/Persistent Analytics Extracts the following information- where the visitor came from, what search engine they used, what link they clicked on, what keyword they used and where in the world they accessed a website.
_UTMA 1st /Persistent Analytics Keeps track of the number of times a visitor has been to the site and when their first visit and last visits were
_UTMC 1st /Persistent Analytics Works with UTMB_ to determine how long the visitor spends on the site
_UTMB 1st /Persistent Analytics Works with UTMC_ to determine how long the visitor spends on the site

Setting Cookies on your device
By using our website you agree to the use of cookies as described in this Cookie Policy.

If you do not want the website to set cookies on your device then you should either not use the site, or you should delete RCOphth cookies once you have finished visiting the site. Alternatively, the ‘Help’ menu on the menu bar of most browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie and how to disable cookies altogether. However, because cookies allow you to take advantage of some of the website’s essential features, we recommend you leave them turned on.

Managing Cookies – Disabling
Internet Explorer
Google Chrome

Mobiles – Disabling
Windows Phone

What happens if you disable Cookies from our site?
Preventing cookies is likely to impact the functionality or performance of the website and could stop you from accessing certain services provided through it. If you choose to disable cookies, we cannot guarantee how the operation of the website will perform during your visit. It will also affect our ability to improve the website, make changes to user preferences and provide relevant information services which would otherwise be available.

More information about cookies can be found on

If you have any further questions require further clarification around this Privacy & Cookie Policy, please email us at [email protected].