National Eye Week: Care home residents in Wakefield could be suffering in silence due to deteriorating eye health
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According to the high street opticians, 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.
And the problem is only set to get worse, with half of the estimated 632,000 people living in England’s care homes expected to have some form of vision loss within the next 10 years.
The research comes as ahead of National Eye Health Week (September 18 – 24), Specsavers Wakefield is calling for equal access to eye care for all, especially those in care homes that can face extra challenges accessing care.
Dawn Roberts, Specsavers home visits clinical director said: “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.”
Of the 2.7 million people in the UK who would benefit from domiciliary eye care, only 460,000 eye tests were recorded between 2019 and 2020.
Currently, optometrists are required to notify the NHS at least 48 hours before making a visit to one or two customers and three weeks before seeing three or more customers at the same address.
Specsavers is calling for the removal of this pre-visit notification and will be highlighting this discriminatory barrier to MPs and the need for a consistent approach to eye care for everyone throughout England.
Specsavers offers home visits to anybody unable to leave their home, including residents of care homes. To book a test, vist: www.specsavers.co.uk/home-eye-tests