New research from Specsavers found that almost a quarter of a million people living in UK care homes could unknowingly have an eye condition, which could lead to permanent sight loss if not spotted and treated in time.
Furthermore, the research also showed that half of the estimated 632,000 people living in England’s care homes are expected to have some form of vision loss within the next 10 years.
However, due to complex medical needs, such as dementia, reduced mobility and hearing loss, many care home residents are unable to access high street opticians for an eye test, communicate their eye care needs, or easily access home visit services.
In response, the Wakefield branch, is joining the optometrist’s nationwide appeal for equal access to eye care for all - especially for people in care homes.
Currently, there is a government requirement to submit a pre-visit notification before carrying out an eye test for those who can’t leave their home unaccompanied.
Optometrists like Specsavers are also required to notify the NHS at least 48 hours before making a home visit to one or two customers and three weeks before seeing three or more customers at the same address.
To make it easier for residents to receive eye care, Specsavers is now calling for the removal of this pre-visit notification, highlighting it as a “discriminatory barrier” to MPs.
Dawn Roberts, Specsavers home visits clinical director, says: “Maintaining good vision is a key part of any person’s quality of life, but perhaps more so for care home residents because they often have limited mobility and so most of their hobbies and pastimes will involve visual tasks.
"Sight loss can be very isolating and for those already struggling with memory problems or dementia, any confusion and disorientation is exacerbated by impaired vision. This can lead to a loss of engagement in social activities and sometimes increased risk of falls.
"Providing regular eye care can minimise or even eliminate these issues for people living in care homes allowing them to enjoy doing the things they want to do.”