Keeping Eyesight Healthy for People Living with Dementia

Maintaining good eyesight can be a really important lifeline for people living with dementia, and can help support the people who care for them.

Zetun Arif, an ophthalmic director for Specsavers Home Visits in the Greater Manchester area, speaks to The Carer about how important eye tests are in helping people live well with the condition, and about the service the teams offer to people living in care homes.

Q. Why is maintaining good eyesight so important for people living in care homes, whether they are living with dementia or not?

Maintaining good vision really matters for all of us, but it’s especially important for care home residents because they are more likely to have limited mobility and may be at a higher risk of falls.

Many of the things they may enjoy doing will involve good vision, like watching television or doing puzzles or craft activities.

Q. So that’s why regular eye tests are so important for care home residents?

Sight loss can lead to people feeling really isolated, and if a person is also living with dementia it can make them feel more confused.

Regular eye tests allow changes in vision to be tackled quickly, and can also detect other eye conditions (such as glaucoma or cataracts) which may need further treatment at an early stage.

Q. How can Specsavers Home Visits help?

Our home visits teams are trained to support people living with dementia and the people who support them. They’ll work with to deliver a personalised service to your residents, delivered with kindness, patience and a smile.

Our optometrists use objective assessment techniques which don’t require responses from the person being tested, which means we can offer full support to people living with dementia even if they face challenges in communicating with us.

We provide training for our staff on dementia and how to successfully communicate with those living with cognitive impairment, and we always take our lead from carers who know the individuals best.

Q. How does your service work?

We’ll come to all types of care centre, from community houses to residential homes, to dementia specialist nursing homes and everywhere in between.

In some services, we’ll visit for a whole day and provide full routine free NHS eye tests to everyone who lives there, while in others we’ll visit new residents to give them a check-up, or see a single resident who is having particular issues with their vision.

We supply NHS and private funded spectacles which we deliver and fit in person, and which are engraved with the person’s name so you can easily find their glasses when you need to. Glasses start from £19, and the same offers apply as would in store.

To find out more, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/home-eye-tests

Sign up for all the latest news from The Carer!

Sign up to receive the latest issues, along with highlights of the latest sector news and more from The Carer, delivered directly to your inbox twice a week!