Category Archives: ACPR

Eyecare news: Optometrist Creates Another First for Kingston-upon-Thames

Judy Dench and Stephen King are both affected by Macular Degeneration. Now John Rose of John Rose Eye Care Centre, Kingston Upon Thames, has taken another step forward in preventing sight loss from the condition in the local area with the acquisition of a MAIA visual fields machine. This machine can help detect eye disease at an early stage and ensure that you get treatment if you need.

Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of sight loss in the UK. If left untreated it can lead to central sight loss. The good news is that, if picked up early, some types of Macular Degeneration can be treated and your sight can be saved, but early detection is critical. See rnibspotthesigns.org.uk for more information on the current national RNIB campaign to help people detect signs of macular degeneration.

MAIA is simple to use, patients can be tested in less than 3 minutes per eye. John Rose explains, “By comparing macular indexes in patients with and without retinal pathologies, MAIA is very effective at measuring functional changes due to disease and to treatment. It can also help monitor the course of retinal diseases and the efficacy of treatment.”

John Rose adds: “We are also involved in referrals to London Eye for the exciting new laser developed by John Marshall for early treatment of dry AMD, which means that  Kingston residents can get access to both ground breaking assessment and treatment.”

The John Rose Eye Care Centre has invested heavily in pioneering technology and is only one of four Eye Care Centres on UK High Streets to have such advanced technology.

To book an eye examination and make the most of the equipment which is unique to John Rose Eye Care Centre call 0208 546 9292 or visit www.johnroseeyecare.co.uk.

#END#

For further press information, please contact:

Antonia Chitty on 07900 580 668, 01424 810 272,   or email at mail@antoniachitty.co.uk

 

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

About John Rose:

John studied at Aston University from 1981 to 1984. He graduated in 1984 with Honours Degree in Optometry and Visual Sciences. After graduating he spent his pre-registration year split between private practice and the contact lens department of Moorfields Eye Hospital gaining a wide range of experience in all aspects of optometry. After successfully completing his professional exams he was first registered as an optometrist in 1986.  He set up the John Rose Eye Care Centre in 1997.  During his time at Aston University he developed an interest in dyslexia and a special interest in glaucoma. Hence, his practice has specialised in these areas of interest.

 

 

Eyewear News: First for Hastings Optician

Rhodri Luff Wilson Wilson Hancock wearing Bambooka Sunglasses smHastings Opticians First in England to Support South African Bamboo Project

Hastings residents will be the first in England to have access to a revolutionary design of sunglasses that supports people from South Africa.

Bambooka sunglasses are made by real people, not machines or robots, from fast growing bamboo. Bamboo is natural, light and strong – an ideal combination – and the project has been created by a non-profit company with a mission to help people in Africa set up sustainable businesses. The sunglasses are currently only available at Wilson, Wilson and Hancock Opticians.

Did you know? Because they are made from natural bamboo, Bambooka sunglasses will float!

Baz van Cranenburgh from Bambooka says, “Bamboo is a wonder crop because of its ability to enhance the environment whilst providing a valuable multi-use product for the rural area. When responsibly farmed it conserves water, sequesters up to three times more carbon dioxide of typical forest crops, improves the soil structure and improves the quality of the air that we breathe. From food to firewood and construction to spectacle frames bamboo harvests provide many opportunities for sustainable income generation. People love Bambooka sunglasses because by using a natural material each one is unique. This ‘flawsomeness’ adds to their appeal .”

Rodhri Luff (pictured wearing Bambooka) at Wilson, Wilson and Hancock says, “It is great to be working with Bambooka to support this innovative project. We hope that the people of Hastings really get behind this initiative – the response we’ve had so far has been great. Do visit us to try on the sunglasses.”

Bambooka sunglasses come in three designs, and one design can be fitted with prescription lenses if you need. They cost from £45 and are available exclusively from Wilson, Wilson, Hancock, 12-14 Cambridge Road, Hastings. Pop in, give the practice a call on 421717 or see www.bambooka.org to discover more about the sunglasses. Find out about the charitable work their sale funds at www.pepe.org.uk.

ENDS

More images and images in higher resolution are available. Call Antonia Chitty on 01424 810 272 or 07900580668

Notes to Editors

About Wilson, Wilson and Hancock

Wilson, Wilson and Hancock is an independent optician. Its Hastings practice is one of the largest in the county, with two directors, four additional qualified optometrists, five qualified dispensing opticians and support staff. The group also has practices in Tenterden, Rye and Lewes. Wilson, Wilson and Hancock was founded in 1949 by F. E. Wilson. It offers a thorough examination for every patient to monitor the health of the eyes and to determine the exact nature of the patient’s visual needs.

Offer for Wedding Businesses: 1/3 OFF Today Only

If you run a wedding business, did you know that media coverage could be worth thousands of pounds to your business? And if you do your own PR you can get your products seen by brides-to-be who are looking for just what you offer?

Make sure that writing and sending press releases and quick updates about your business is a regular part of your business promotion. And to make it easier, use the Wedding Media Contacts database, which puts details for all the leading national and regional wedding magazines and websites at your fingertips.

The database is usually £150, but for today only get it for £97. Offer expired Midnight 27 May 2010. Click here to buy the Wedding Media Contacts database now.

Press Release: Businesswoman Reaches the Final of the Women on Their Way Awards

Press Release

For immediate release

Businesswoman Reaches the Final of the Women on Their Way Awards

Entrepreneur Antonia Chitty has made it into the final three for the ‘Women on Their Way’ awards in the Women’s Advocate Category. The Bexhill-based entrepreneur and author started her PR training business eight years ago. Since then, Antonia’s business has grown and offers training in practical and low cost promotion techniques for business owners. Antonia Chitty says, “It is thrilling to have reached the final and I’m looking forward to the event in March.”

The Women on Their Way Awards, now in their second year, are the brainchild of entrepreneurial duo Lisa Ibbotson and Jo Cameron, a former ‘Apprentice’. They explain, “Women owned businesses are growing rapidly and so is women’s individual wealth. Sometimes progress feels slow but it’s the momentum of the women at the top that paves the way for the careers of others. In this new world of work, women jump through hoops every day to get to where they want to be. They break down barriers and overcome challenges to get to the top in some very difficult circumstances. They keep going when it all gets tough. They have energy when others give up. They don’t always see their achievements and they don’t always recognise their success. The young women coming up behind us need more role models. This is why we created The WOW Awards; for recognising those women on the move, those who mobilise others and those who create change when it all feels too hard. All together, it’s about celebrating and recognising the energy that women bring into work and their resolve to make a difference.”

The Awards in 2010 will be held at the fabulous newly refurbished Holte Suite at Aston Villa Football Club on March 19th 2010.

Antonia will be running a training session on online promotion, press releases and promotion planning for the South East Women’s Business Service in Newhaven on March 3rd 2010. To find out about the event call 0845 600 9 006.

For more about the awards, see www.womenontheirway.co.uk

For more information and to contact Antonia see www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk

ENDS

Contact details:

Antonia Chitty, T: 01424 810 272 M: 07900 580 668 E: Antonia@acpr.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. Antonia Chitty has run her own PR business since the birth of her daughter in 2002. She took advantage of being on maternity leave with her son in 2006 to write her first book, and now combines writing and PR. Follow this link for a hi res image of Antonia
  2. Antonia also runs Family Friendly Working, a campaigning organization with a website packed with ideas for anyone who wants a flexible way to work.
  3. She is author of ten books including The Mumpreneur Guide, a practical workbook for any woman who wants to start a business that fits in with the family:
  • A Guide to Promoting Your Business, ACPR
  • Family Friendly Working, White Ladder Press
  • What to Do When Your Child Hates School, White Ladder Press
  • Special Educational Needs: A Parent’s Guides for Need2Know books,
  • Commercial Writing: How to Earn a Living as a Business Writer, Hale Publishing,
  • Insomnia: the Essential Guide, Need2Know
  • Special Needs Child: Maintaining Your Relationship, White Ladder Press
  • The Mumpreneur Guide, ACPR
  • Down’s Syndrome: The Essential Guide Need2Know June 2010
  • Sight Loss: The Essential Guide, Need2Know December 2010.
  1. Antonia offers training and coaching for women developing their own business through www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk.
  2. She is mum to Daisy, 8, Jay, 4 and Kit, 1.

Sheffield City Council Takes Care of Eye Care

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: January 2010

Sheffield City Council Takes Care of Eye Care

for People With Learning Disabilities

Sheffield City Council is the first local authority in the UK to fund a worker to support people with learning disabilities to get the eye care they need.

 

One in three people with learning disabilities has a sight problem, yet this group is least likely to get the help they need, according to SeeAbility, formerly The Royal School for the Blind. As part of its national eye2eye campaign, SeeAbility has joint funded the post of Sensory Development Worker since 2005. The post is now fully funded and permanently part of Sheffield’s Community Learning Disability team.

 

Keith McKinstrie, Service Manager, Social Care, Joint Learning Disabilities Service for Sheffield City Council, explains how this will make a difference, “Our work with SeeAbility has enabled us to uncover sensory impairments in people with learning disabilities who we thought we knew very well. A sight test can enable things to suddenly improve for a person.” Sensory Development Worker Pauline Hargreaves explains what she will be doing to improve care for people with learning disabilities, “The City Council want me to concentrate on raising awareness of the eye care needs of people with learning disabilities. As well as supporting individuals to have eye tests, I’ll be offering training for support staff across supported living and residential care services. It is great to have wholehearted backing from the City Council to support this work.”

SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye manager for the Yorkshire and Humber region Laura Christie says, “Pauline Hargreaves has a very specialized role. She supports people and their carers to get the right eye care, builds links with opticians and helps them develop the skills they need to work with this group. Pauline has also developed links with the sensory impairment team who help people who have lost some sight. It’s fantastic that the work of the eye 2 eye campaign has been embedded in Sheffield’s services for people with a learning disability”

 

The work done by SeeAbility has made a real impact in Sheffield, making contact with over 1000 people with learning disabilities and more than 2500 professionals in health, social and eye care. Now that the post is permanent this can continue. Jane Hobson, Development Manager for day and accommodation services within Sheffield City Council works closely with Pauline Hargreaves. She says, “Working alongside SeeAbility in Sheffield is such a valuable experience on so many levels. For the people we support it means improved eye care, access to resources and the opportunity to have eye surgery where previously it would not have been considered. For carers it enables them to get access to the right equipment and appropriate support services involved.” One carer says, “Our experience was really positive and has made me aware of how much can be done to enhance the lives of people like my son by getting them proper eye care.”

Keith McKinstrie concludes, “If you are serious about addressing health issues for people with learning disabilities, sensory impairment is a key part.” And Sensory Development Worker Pauline Hargreaves has a message for all local councils, “Look at what we’re doing here in Sheffield and see how it is helping people with learning disabilities. Improved eye care can lead to a better quality of life and empower people to do more for themselves. I feel that people are lucky to get this support in Sheffield but worry about all the other people with learning disabilities in the country who aren’t getting the eye care and support they desperately need”

 

– ENDS –

Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
  • SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
  • SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
  • Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
  • SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org

 

 

People With Learning Disabilities get the Chance to Speak Up about Eyecare

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: 14 December 2009

People With Learning Disabilities get the Chance to Speak Up about Eyecare

An inquiry into eye care services for people with learning disabilities is top of the agenda for The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Learning Disability in January 2010.

 

1 in 3 people with a learning disability has a sight problem yet this group is least likely to get the help they need, according to SeeAbility, formerly The Royal School for the Blind. Paula Spinks-Chamberlain, SeeAbility Director of Information and Advisory Services says,

“SeeAbility launched the eye 2 eye Campaign in 2005 because people with learning disabilities were not getting the eye care that they need. Pilot projects have helped in some parts of the country, but we view the All-Party Parliamentary Groups Inquiry as a major breakthrough that could put eye care for people with learning disabilities at the top of the national agenda.”

 

The Inquiry will investigate:

  • The number of people with a learning disability who have sight problems and the sight problems that they have.
  • Why it is important for people with learning disabilities to have good vision and eye health.
  • Whether people with learning disabilities have regular sight tests and if not, why not.
  • If people with learning disabilities find it difficult to access community NHS eye care services and barriers to access.
  • How eye care services could be improved for this group.

 

Currently the NHS sight test of around 30 minutes does not provide sufficient time or flexibility to test people with severe or profound learning disabilities.

 

Speaking at the launch of the Inquiry, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment Sandra Gidley MP (Liberal Democrat, Romsey) said:

 

“1 in 3 people with a learning disability have some form of visual impairment, yet many of these vulnerable people have never had a sight test. This inquiry will examine why this group of people, who have a high risk of sight problems, are not getting the eye care they deserve. We hope to identify solutions and educate policy makers and health and social care professionals about this issue and encourage action to be taken.”

 

– ENDS –

Issued by SeeAbility. For further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • The Inquiry will involve up to two oral evidence sessions.
  • Evidence will be given by interested parties including people with learning disabilities, professionals, Department of Health representatives and representatives of PCTs.
  • Timescales:

Deadline for written evidence 22 January

Deadline for submissions from those giving oral evidence 12 January 2010

Inquiry on 19th January 2010 tbc

Short report on initial findings by early March.

  • There are an estimated 210,000 people with severe and profound learning disabilities in England: around 65,000 children and young people, 120,000 adults of working age and 25,000 older people – Valuing People, Department of Health (2001)
  • Better health for people with learning disabilities is a key priority in the Government’s latest strategy, ‘Valuing People Now’: “There is clear evidence that most people with learning disabilities have poorer health than the rest of the population and are more likely to die at a younger age. Their access to the NHS is often poor.”
  • SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
  • SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
  • SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
  • Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
  • SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org

 

 

Scott Watkin, National Co-director for Learning Disabilities, says People With Learning Disabilities Need Good Eyecare

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: November 2009

Scott Watkin, National Co-director for Learning Disabilities, says People With Learning Disabilities Need Good Eyecare

Scott Watkin is the Department of Health’s National Co-director for Learning Disabilities. As a person with a learning disability himself, Scott champions the needs of people with learning disabilities. After his recent experience of eye surgery, Scott is keen to see that good eye care is on the agenda for everyone, whatever their ability. Martin Thomas of SeeAbility has recently spoken to Scott who says “If you get the chance to improve your sight – go for it. It changed my life: it’ll change your life too”. Read on to find out more about the messages Scott wants to share to improve eye care.

Scott Watkin has Keratoconus. This causes the cornea, the clear layer at the front of the eye, to thin and become cone shaped. These changes cause:

  • Blurred and distorted vision.
  • Difficulties with reading.
  • Problems with glare.

Keratoconus can be treated with contact lenses up to a certain point. After a while the contact lenses no longer give clear vision and a corneal graft is needed. This is the situation Scott found himself in. Martin Thomas of SeeAbility says, “When Scott was first told he would need a corneal graft he was initially reluctant. Scott told me he took a year in making his decision to go ahead with his operation.”

 

Scott knew his sight was deteriorating so at his next hospital visit he made his mind up and decided to have the operation.

 

The next step for Scott was to find out all about the operation. He explains, “They took time to explain the treatment I could have and they made sure I understood what they meant. They took me through all the [eye] tests I needed. They used language I could understand and explained that after my operation my sight wouldn’t improve overnight”.

 

On the day, Scott was apprehensive about the operation. He describes how he felt, “I had been anxious and nervous on the day of the operation and felt unwell.” Scott came through the operation well, and the hospital helped his recovery by listening to and meeting his needs. He explains, “The hospital made reasonable adjustments for me and let me stay overnight after the operation. They also arranged for social care staff to come to my home to apply my eye drops for me in the weeks after my operation”.

 

It has taken around six months for Scott to fully appreciate the difference the operation has made to him. Good eyesight has opened up other possibilities for Scott. He says, “I’m also able to achieve another of my ambitions. I’m thinking of applying for my provisional driving licence”.

 

Scott’s surgery took place at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. Scott comments, “If it wasn’t for the Queen Victoria Hospital I don’t think I’d be where I am now. I really want to express my thanks to them.” Another operation is required for his other eye and Scott speaks confidently of having the operation when necessary.

 

Scott’s positive experience of eye surgery means that he is keen to help other people who are in a similar position. Scott recommends making sure you understand the operation and the effect it will have. He says, “Take your time and make sure that you are supported by someone who knows you”.

Scott is keen to make sure that all people with learning disabilities can access and benefit from the highest quality eye care and general health care. The willingness of the eye care professionals who treated him to take time to communicate clearly made a big difference to Scott and his future. He says, “If it took me a year to come to the decision to have the operation it may take people with more complex needs much longer to come to the same decision. For that to happen you need to have perseverance and people around you to offer you the information you need and emotional support.” Scott concludes, “If you get the chance to improve your sight – go for it. It changed my life: it’ll change your life too”.

SeeAbility’s eye2eye campaign is working to transform eye care for people with learning disabilities by providing information, advice and support for:

  • people with learning disabilities,
  • their families and carers,
  • eye care professionals
  • health and social services staff.

With 1 in 3 people with learning disabilities likely to have sight problem it is vital that people are supported to attend regular eyesight tests and to access eye care services. No-one one is too disabled to get the eye care they need.

For further information about the issues raised in the article go to www.lookupinfo.org or call 01732 755066.

– ENDS –

Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
  • SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
  • SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
  • Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
  • SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org

 

Making Eyecare Easier for People with Learning Disabilities

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: 9 November 2009

Making Eyecare Easier for People with Learning Disabilities

 

People with learning disabilities now have easier access to better eye care and community optometrists and hospital optometrists and orthoptists have had the chance to improve their skills through specialist training after a successful pilot project in East London. The project has now been commissioned for five years.

A staggering one in three people with a learning disability has a sight problem, yet a minority get regular and effective sight tests according to SeeAbility. This puts many people with learning disabilities at risk of unnecessary sight loss.

In response to this need, NHS Tower Hamlets has introduced a service in both community optometry practices in Tower Hamlets and a specialist clinic at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. The project is supported by SeeAbility, formerly known as The Royal School for the Blind and aims to ensure that adults with learning disabilities gain access to regular and effective sight tests and low vision support.

All community optometrists who take part in the scheme receive an enhanced fee to reflect the longer testing time required and a testing kit provided and funded by the PCT. David Hewlett of FODO says, “People with learning disabilities have the same rights as everyone else in society and ought to be able to access the optical practice of their choice. The NHS contract should be flexible enough to provide for this on a national basis as an additional service.”

The first six months of the pilot project have shown that there is a definite need for the service. Three in four people were prescribed glasses and five of the 25 attending hospital clinics were referred for registration as partially sighted. Poonam Sharma, Tower Hamlets Optometry Advisor comments, “After a very successful eye 2 eye pilot scheme last year, we are very pleased that Tower Hamlets PCT is funding this project. We have already had extremely positive feedback from everyone who used the service.”

Carers felt the benefit from the scheme, making comments such as,

“The eye clinic staff were very patient, and had good communication skills.”

“The optician was friendly, understanding.”

Some carers commented on the thoroughness of the examination:

“They explained clearly what was happening.”

“The tests were appropriate and thorough.”

And results were good too, with comments like:

“Definite improvement. [He] seems to notice more when looking at things.”

“[She] enjoyed the experience. [She is] not frightened of hospitals anymore.”

Paula Spinks-Chamberlain, SeeAbility’s Director of Information and Advisory Services comments, “We are delighted to have been involved with this ground-breaking scheme in Tower Hamlets. It shows Tower Hamlets’ commitment to providing a first class eye health care service to people with a learning disability and their commitment to the equalities agenda. We look forward to working with other PCTs to replicate similar projects throughout the UK.”

Keith Marshall, Eye Health Programme Manager for Tower Hamlets has found benefits from the scheme that go beyond its initial scope: “The primary benefit from this piece of partnership working has been to improve access to eye tests for people with Learning Disabilities by commissioning and delivering appropriately structured eye tests delivered by suitable skilled and trained eye care professionals in the community and in the hospital. This collaboration across primary and secondary care, community health services and the voluntary sector helps the sharing of knowledge, cross-fertilisation of ideas and sharing of best practice.”

SeeAbility’s information website, Look Up provides adults with a learning disability, carers, eye care professionals and health and social care staff with a wealth of information about eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities. For further information visit www.lookupinfo.org

For further information on the Enhanced Primary Care Optometry service in Tower Hamlets please call Tower Hamlets Optometric Adviser Poonam Sharma 0207 092 5830

 

– ENDS –

Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
  • SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
  • SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
  • Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
  • SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org
  • NHS Tower Hamlets, in partnership with SeeAbility and Barts and the London NHS Trust has been running a six month pilot project to improve access to eye tests and improve quality of eye services for people with learning disabilities. This was done by commissioning extended eye examinations from community optometrists, who received an accredited training, and providing a specialist clinic in a hospital eye service. A six month pilot began in September 2008.
  • The specialist clinic operates from Royal London Orthoptic department twice a month. Three people with learning disabilities that make them hard to test can be examined each session. People are examined by both an orthoptist and an optometrist to provide the best possible outcome.
  • A SeeAbility eye 2 eye development officer and a learning disability nurse attended clinic appointments over the first 6 months to support staff, and to identify pathways and additional help from low vision support to wearing glasses.

Making it Easier to Examine People With Learning Disabilities

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: 2 November 2009

 

Making it Easier to Examine People With Learning Disabilities

Eyecare professionals will find it easier to care for people with learning disabilities thanks to a new initiative from SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign and Kay Pictures. Optometrists testing this group now benefit from 50% off Kay Picture vision tests.

Around 3 in 10 people with learning disabilities have a significant sight problem, yet many do not get regular sight tests. As a result, people with learning difficulties have a high rate of undetected treatable sensory impairments.

Hazel Kay, creator of the test, says, “The Kay Picture Test provides an accurate means of testing the vision of people with learning disabilities using pictures of familiar, everyday objects. Visual acuity measurements are achieved in an easy, quick and fun way, which can allay fears regarding the eye test and help to gain the person’s cooperation and trust with other aspects of the examination.”

Martin Thomas, Manager of the Lookup Information Service says

“We’re pleased with the Kay Picture offer on Lookup as it means that many more optometrists and specialist workers have the chance to purchase Kay cards and extend their skills and services to meet the needs of people who might have been at risk of being excluded from eye sight tests.”

Undetected sight problems mean that people are unable to take part in a range of leisure, work and learning activities that they could otherwise enjoy. They can experience undetected deterioration of their sight, leading to a loss of skills, frustration and isolation. If you want to make a difference, you could:

  • Visit www.lookupinfo.org to download pre and post eye examination forms that assist people with learning disabilities and their carers to make the most of their eye examinations
  • Work through Healthcall Optical’s CET pack, Examining People with Learning Disabilities to improve your skills
  • Register on the Look Up database which gives information about practice facilities for people with learning disabilities.

Order your discount Kay Picture Tests at www.kaypictures.co.uk/more_seeability.html.

Quote ‘SeeAbility offer’ on your order form. See note 9 for details.

– ENDS –

Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • ·1. SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
    • ·2. SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
    • ·3. SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
    • ·4. SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
  1. Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
  • ·6. SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org
  1. The Kay Picture Test makes testing quick, easy and provides accurate, reliable visual acuity measurements in the same way as a Snellen letter test. It is an ideal method for those who may have difficulty in responding to more complex tests that require the patient to have a degree of literacy and verbal communication skills.
  2. The testing procedure is similar to procedures that use letters. Pictures can be matched until they are no longer sufficiently visible to be recognised. People with learning disabilities can respond through methods such as signing, pointing, eye gazing or speech. Acuity is then scored using LogMAR or Snellen notation.
  3. The offer is only available to professionals who have registered on the Look Up database or have undertaken Healthcall Optical’s CET: Examining People with Learning Disabilities. Provide a copy of your CET certificate with your order, or confirm that you are registered on the Look Up database. The 50% discount is on the list price of any of the six Kay Picture Test near and distance sets and matching cards when a new service is provided.

 

Lucy’s Story: Enabling adults with learning disabilities to look after their eyes

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25th 2009

Lucy’s Story: Enabling adults with learning disabilities to look after their eyes

If you work with people with learning disabilities, are you aware of how to support them with their eyecare? People with learning disabilities are more likely to have eye problems, and may be less able to communicate any difficulties. Eye care charity SeeAbility has funded eye 2 eye Community Development Officers in different parts of the UK to raise the profile of eye problems in this group, and to work with people and their carers to improve their eye care. Find out how this has helped one woman in West Sussex.

 

Lucy is a 58 year old lady with mild learning disabilities who lives in a supported living home. She was referred to SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Community Development Officer Stephen Kill by her care manager. Lucy attends an eye clinic for treatment for glaucoma, has cataracts and is also diabetic. The care manager felt that staff needed to know more about Lucy’s eye conditions, her level of vision and what support she required with everyday vision-related tasks.

 

Lucy herself is aware of her visual impairment and is registered blind. She has a lively personality, loves to chat and go out shopping, to discos and to karaoke sessions. When Stephen Kill started to talk to her about her eye problems, Lucy’s main complaint was that her eye drops stung. She says, “I used to create. If they put a lot of drops in, I’d say ‘aargh!'” Kill says, “Like the staff, Lucy knew bits and pieces about her eye conditions, but no-one had a full picture. It is a common situation as people may be accompanied to appointments by different support workers at different times”.

 

It was at this point that Stephen Kill went with Lucy to one of her hospital eye clinic appointments. At the appointment, the doctor explained about Lucy’s eye conditions. Lucy now says, “I know I have glaucoma and cataracts”. Glaucoma is a generally painless condition where raised pressure in the eye can cause loss of peripheral vision. The person may be able to see well straight ahead. Kill explains, “Many people with glaucoma don’t know why they keep on returning to see an eye specialist, and are unsure what their eye drops are for. My role is to help them understand what their condition is and what the treatment does, and this is how I helped Lucy.” Lucy is now clear about using her eye drops, and says, “It is one drop four times a day in both eyes”. This is particularly important as, without the drops, Lucy could lose more sight.

 

Because they had discussed it in advance, Stephen reminded Lucy to tell the doctor that her eye drops stung. The doctor was able to change them to a type which would not sting, which has made Lucy much happier to take them. She can now explain about looking after her eyes, “Every six months I see the doctor at the eye clinic. He is fine. He looks in my eyes and he says they are fine”. Repeat appointments allow the doctor to ensure Lucy’s drops are still controlling her glaucoma and protecting her remaining vision.

 

Stephen Kill’s role involves a bit of detective work. He explains, “I may need to go through someone’s notes, accompany them to the eye clinic once or twice, and carry out a functional visual assessment. I will then pull all the information together, talk it through with the person, and write it up for the care staff in accessible language.” Kill’s notes for staff will include details of where a person manages well and where they need more support. In Lucy’s case, because her peripheral vision is poor, she needed more support crossing the road. Staff could encourage her to turn her head to look both ways before crossing. The notes also listed what needed to be done to keep Lucy’s eyes healthy. In her case this meant using her eye drops on a daily basis and attending the eye clinic every six months. Finally, Kill advised staff about how to give Lucy information and make the most of her vision. In her home you can see attractive large print charts listing which carers are supporting her each day, healthy foods for her to eat and family birthdays to remember.

 

Stephen Kill worked with Lucy for around 10 months. He says, “How long I work with someone will depend on individual need and when their next eye appointment is due. Carers are usually helpful but sometimes they aren’t and I may wait a long time to receive information I have requested, which is frustrating. For some people I will also go to their next appointment with the optometrist so we are clear about whether they need glasses and when to use them. Lucy uses glasses for reading. I will also find out about the person’s hearing needs if appropriate”.

 

As well as benefiting from the service, Lucy has contributed to the eye 2 eye project in West Sussex on a number of occasions since her assessment. With her outgoing personality, she has been able to give a talk to fellow tenants of the supported living service about eye care during a day of workshops and activities. She describes her experience, “It was alright. I wasn’t nervous. I talked about how it is important to have your eyes checked every two years”. She has also spoken to inspectors from CSCI (the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate, now replaced by the Care Quality Commission) about her experiences and taken part in a presentation to the local learning disabilities partnership board. Stephen Kill says, “We practiced Lucy’s part in her home, then went over to where the meeting would take place the week before. This preparation really helped Lucy to feel comfortable on the day of the presentation. He adds, “Lucy has really given back to the project by supporting me when I give talks and talking about her own experience”.

 

 

BOX COPY

What is a functional visual assessment?

 

  • A rehabilitation worker will look at how someone’s vision is used for close-up activities, in the distance and in the periphery. The worker will use picture cards (known as Kay Pictures) or a Sheridan Gardiner letters test to get an objective idea of a person’s vision. This can also help to see how someone will get on if they have an eye test at the opticians.
  • The rehabilitation worker will watch the person and how they interact doing everyday activities at home. The worker may use a selection of cups and bowls with coloured sweets such as Smarties to see which colours and contrasts the person can see most easily. A finger puppet on a stick makes testing someone’s peripheral vision fun, and can also be used to see if the person can follow an object.
  • Evidence from staff can contribute to an overall picture of what a person sees. Examples such as missing food on a plate, or being surprised when someone approaches them can help the rehabilitation worker understand what the person can and cannot see.
  • All this information will help the rehab worker make practical suggestions to help the person make the most of their potential and vision.

END OF BOX

 

BOX COPY

What is a rehabilitation worker?

Rehabilitation workers work with people with visual impairments to help them build their independence. They are usually funded by local authorities, but the job can also be contracted out to a local voluntary association for people with a visual impairment. Stephen Kill studied for a Diploma in Rehabilitation Studies before taking his first job with the Surrey Association for Visual Impairment. He says, “My work involved carrying out assessments, delivering orientation and mobility programmes, helping with independent living skills and providing low vision training to visually impaired adults and children”. Kill then moved on to work for charity SeeAbility, to work with people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities in residential, day service and supported living settings. His role there involved liaising with staff teams to ensure that enabling rehabilitation programmes were delivered to service users. His current role at SeeAbility as an eye 2 eye Development Officer involves supporting people with learning disabilities to access regular and effective eye care and vision services. Kill adds, “I also work raising awareness and providing support and training to individuals, carers and health and social care professionals”.

END OF BOX

 

Find out more

If you work with adults with learning disabilities, check out www.lookupinfo.org for helpful resources for people with learning disabilities, their carers and families. Use the site to help prepare someone for an eye appointment or to learn more about different eye conditions.

www.seeability.org – SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign aims to transform eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities in the UK by providing information, advice and support for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, eye care professionals and health and social services staff.

 

– ENDS –

 

Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:

Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
  • SeeAbility offers a wide range of quality residential and community services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and fulfilling life.
  • SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability through access to information, specially-adapted sight tests and low-vision support.
  • SeeAbility currently operates a range of services in London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, East Sussex, Hampshire, Devon, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • SeeAbility’s Head Office is based in Epsom, Surrey and for further information call 01372 755000 or go to www.seeability.org