Anyone with a learning disability should be assumed to have sight loss unless proven otherwise. Research shows that adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to have serious sight problems.
- People with learning disabilities are less likely to be able to raise concerns about their eyes and vision.
- An eye test with an optometrist is the best way to check how well someone can see and that their eyes are healthy.
- Adults should have an eye test every two years, or more often if required.
- No-one is too disabled to have an eye test.
- You don’t have to be able to read or talk to have an eye test.
A person with learning disabilities is entitled to receive an eye test that meets their needs. This should usually be carried out at an optometrist’s practice or it can be at the person’s home if needed.
Without regular eye tests, there is a risk of permanent sight loss from eye conditions that could have been treated. An eye test can also detect other health concerns, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
No-one is too disabled to have an eye test
Eye tests are important and, with the right support, they are possible for everyone.
We are keen to make sure that eye care services are connected to as many people with learning disabilities as possible.
If you know someone who would struggle to have a regular eye test, has not had an eye test recently or you have concerns about their vision, read through our free resources to find out how you can support them to get better eye care.
Find an optometrist
Search our database of optometrists and dispensing opticians who have shared information on their services for people with learning disabilities.
Eye care resources
Search our resources which have been created to help people with learning disabilities, families, supporters and eye care and learning disability professionals.
What areas have local eye testing services for people with learning disabilities?
In six areas around the country we've worked with local eye care services and the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) to improve access for people with moderate and severe learning disabilities. These areas now offer 'pathways', which means longer appointments through opticians who have had additional training on supporting people with learning disabilities, including about using easy read information and being able to test people who find it hard to talk.
- Greater Manchester - The new “Eye Tests Made Easy” service
- Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG, and North Durham
- London Borough of Sutton
- London Borough of Bexley
- London Borough of Barking and Dagenham - "Bridge to Vision" project
- Cheshire and Merseyside
NHS England's Special School Eye Care Services
Based on our research, NHS England has responded by committing in their Long Term Plan to providing a fully funded eye care and glasses service to all special school students.
If you are an eye care professional and you would like to use or adapt our forms, or want any help or advice in developing/improving eye care services for people with a learning disability, then please contact Steve Kill (National Manager - Eye Care and Vision) on 07738 040 307 or email email@example.com.