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the need for inclusive high street optometry services for people with learning disabilities
The need for inclusive high street optometry services for people with learning disabilities.

SeeAbility Copyright 2009

population
Population
  • There are over one million people with learning disabilities living in the uk. The NHS Executive suggests 30% of people with learning disabilities have a significant impairment of vision. There is a high rate of under-detection amongst people with learning disabilities of sensory impairments, most of which can be treated.
  • The incidence of serious sight problems is higher amongst people with conditions such as cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome.
learning disabilities
Learning Disabilities
  • People with learning disabilities have the same rights as every one else to use commonly available services, such as high street eye care and optometry services.
  • People with learning disabilities are at risk of social exclusion; people often receive poor health services, including eye care services, and are very likely to be victims of bullying and discrimination.
undetected sight problems
Undetected Sight Problems
  • Undetected sighted problems lead to people with learning disabilities being unable to acquire or maintain skills in education, daily living, leisure and recreation and relationships with others
  • People with learning disabilities often have communication problems and are unable to tell others of changes to their sight.
undetected sight problems6
Undetected Sight Problems
  • Deterioration or worsening sight can lead to people becoming distressed, anxious, angry, withdrawn and deskilled. These behaviours are often misdiagnosed by others as psychiatric or behavioural disorders.
  • These behaviours put people at risk of harm from abuse or punitive responses for what might be deemed as ‘challenging’ behaviour
  • The effects of Presbyopia and senile cataract can be misinterpreted as early onset dementia
slide7

Undetected Sight Problems

  • People may have had negative experience of medical services and are fearful of attending what they may perceive to a medical procedure at the optometrist.
  • Poor awareness of eye care & hygiene can lead to re-currant eye problems that might go undetected – such styes, cysts conjunctivitis, blepharitis.
undetected sight problems8
Undetected Sight Problems
  • Supporters and carers of people with learning disabilities are often unaware of the need for regular eye examinations and eye health checks.
  • Supporters of people with learning disabilities are often unaware of basic eye care needs and signs of sight problems and impairment.
meeting need
Meeting Need
  • The high prevalence of refractive errors require people with learning disabilities to need spectacles and accessories.
  • The high incidence of literacy difficulties require optometrists to undertake alternative, yet relatively cost effective eye examinations using Cardiff Cards / Kay picture cards.
meeting need10
Meeting Need
  • It is often assumed that domiciliary services work with people with complex and multiple disabilities. However people from across the wide range of learning disabilities have a right to receive individualised services from high street providers.
  • Optometrist’s working with LOC’ s and PCT’s can pro-actively encourage people with learning disabilities and the agencies that support them to visit optometrists.
  • High street optometry services can play their part in integrating people into communities.
overcoming challenges
Overcoming Challenges
  • Training receptionists, assistants and technicians in meeting, greeting, and communicating effectively with people with Learning Disabilities.
  • Meeting the DDA – Making reasonable adjustments
  • Advocate for LOC’s and PCT’s to make extended appointments available as part of a local and national strategy for meeting the Health for All agenda.
  • Sharing information with people with learning disabilities and their supporters and carers
doing more
Doing More
  • Advocate for the use of Look Up’s ‘Telling the optometrist about me’ form and ‘Feedback from the optometrist about my eye examination’ form available from www.lookupinfo.org
  • Optometrists can register their interest in working with people with learning disabilities on www.lookupinfo.org
  • For information about enhanced services, training and learning disabilities contact SeeAbility's eye 2 eye campaignteam for eye care for people with learning disabilities http://www.seeability.org

SeeAbility copyright 2009

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