SeeAbility’s Eye Care and Vision Charter is a collaborative programme to permanently transform eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities in the UK.

Adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to have a serious sight problem than the general population.

Six out of ten adults with learning disabilities will need to wear glasses and many will be living with unrecognised or undiagnosed sight problems.

People with learning disabilities need the right support to have regular eye tests, wear glasses and have treatment for eye conditions. Our Charter enables organisations, groups and individuals that support people with learning disabilities to prevent unnecessary sight loss and encourage independence. Signing up to our Charter shows your commitment to achieving this key goal.

The Charter can be undertaken by large providers or individual services.

Here is a presentation about the Charter for managers to share with their staff teams.


How to achieve the Charter

Time scales and stages (12 month collaborative programme)

0 – 6 months

  • Meet the SeeAbility team, identify ambassadors for your Eye Care and Vision Team and sign up to achieving The Charter
  • Work together to understand structures and policies and identify what needs to change and how
  • Agree work plan and time scales
  • For larger providers, SeeAbility run local and regional Look Here events for people with learning disabilities and supporters to raise awareness
  • Complete stage one self assessment and begin action planning

6 – 12 months = Inclusion

  • Update organisational policies to reflect Charter values and practices
  • Complete stage two self assessment and action plans
  • Integrate Charter values and practices into every day activities throughout the organisation
  • Achieve the SeeAbility Charter status


What is SeeAbility’s role?

SeeAbility is keen for organisations to achieve the Charter because it means that people with learning disabilities are getting good support to look after their eyes. SeeAbility will:

  • Meet managers and help to devise a plan for your organisation
  • Provide support with completing the self assessments and implementing the action plan
  • Deliver a Look Here event with larger providers
  • Provide ongoing support including advising on using SeeAbility’s free online eye care resources


The four outcomes of the Charter

Outcome one: Be aware of vision

Everyone must be aware of vision and know how to identify signs of poor vision. Supporters and people with learning disabilities know:

  1. That adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to have serious sight problems than others
  2. How to recognise the signs and symptoms of sight loss
  3. Who the visually impaired people in your services are

Outcome two: Sight test every two years

No-one is too disabled to have an eye test. People who you support with learning disabilities:

  1. Have an effective sight test every two years, or more often if necessary
  2. Are supported to prepare for their sight test
  3. Understand the results of their sight test, record the outcomes and share these with others

Outcome three: Wear the right glasses

Six in ten adults with learning disabilities need glasses and typically need help getting used to wearing them. People who you support with learning disabilities who need glasses or contact lenses:

  1. Wear the right glasses or contact lenses for the right task
  2. Wear fitted and well maintained glasses and contact lenses and glasses should always be clean.
  3. Are supported to get used to wearing them

Outcome four: Get the right support

It is important eye conditions are identified so we can understand how much someone can see and what support they need. People who you support with learning disabilities who have eye conditions:

  1. Have these identified and explained and have support to make the best use of their vision
  2. Are supported to plan for and access eye surgery where necessary, including good aftercare 
  3. Can access everyday information, specialist equipment and support in environments suitable for someone with a visual impairment 


Self assessments

Here are the self assessment documents that you will complete to achieve the Charter.

Stage one will usually be completed at the Look Here event or early in the process and includes an Action Plan.

Stage two will be completed towards the end of the process, once your Action Plan has been implemented. 


Look Here Events

SeeAbility runs Look Here events to help organisations achieve the Charter. They are one day events for people with learning disabilities to learn about looking after their eyes. Here is some information about our Look Here events, just click to download:

A typical agenda for a Look Here event

A Look Here event flyer

How to plan a Look Here event

Or watch our short Look Here event video:



Vision Homes: case study

Aida is blind with keratoconus and has profound multiple learning disabilities with complex communication and additional health issues. She has been supported by Vision Homes Association for the past 17 years.

We have used the SeeAbility  keratoconus factsheet to ensure we could access the correct treatment and advice. The factsheet enabled support staff to feel confident about their support of Aida and in talking to other professionals about her needs.

As her condition progressed she has experienced episodes of hydrops and was supported to access acute specialist services via GP referral.

After an initial difficult appointment, the Telling the optometrist about me form was used to successfully highlight Aida’s needs and prepare the hospital staff to be able to assess and treat her hydrops.

The form was particularly good at informing hospital staff of Aida’s communication and preferred support needs. This led to all involved feeling confident and therefore to a successful treatment plan.


The Charter mark and how to use it

When your organisation has successfully completed and been granted the Charter, your organisation can use this Charter mark.


Keeping in touch

Once you have achieved the Charter, SeeAbility is happy to keep in touch and offer more guidance about good eye care.

We will offer you the chance to update the Charter after a year, via a shorter self-assessment process.

For further information about the Charter, please contact Stephen Kill (National Manager - Eye Care and Vision) on 07738 040 307 or email: [email protected]