Grace leaning on a table

Eye Health Week: Starting a new pathway

My name is Grace and I work for SeeAbility. This week is National Eye Health Week and I want to tell you why eye care is so important to me.  

I have two roles in the eye care and vision team. As an Eye Care Champion, my role is to advocate for people with learning disabilities and raise awareness on sight loss and how important it is to ensure people get the sight tests that they need. I do this by teaching people about the importance of eye care and by saying that no one is too disabled to have a sight test.

My other role is London Pathway Expert by Experience. With my colleague Trevor, we are working to get a specialist eye care pathway for people with learning disabilities commissioned in London. This is called the Easy Eye Care pathway. The pathway would allow people with learning disabilities to have longer, more tailored sight tests with community opticians. This would improve access to eye care for lots of people. It would also mean that some people could go to the opticians for their routine eye care rather than a busy eye clinic.

I have had lots of experience with eye care and it's not always been positive. I have had very long waits in eye clinics and struggled to manage this, so trying to raise awareness is key to me. 

I was diagnosed with bilateral congenital cataracts at 11 months old and had surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Having had this surgery has enabled me to be able to see. 

My glasses have a very strong prescription and I can’t see much without them at all. Here are my top tips for wearing glasses –  

  • Clean your glasses regularly.  
  • Make sure your glasses are comfortable and fit well.  
  • Make sure you are wearing the right glasses for the right task!  

My aim is to get the easy eye care pathway commissioned in London. This will help a lot of people to have a successful sight test, identify and eye health problems and get the glasses they need to correct their vision.  

The pathway is currently operating in:

  • London Borough of Sutton  
  • Greater Manchester  
  • Cheshire and Merseyside  
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria  
  • Durham  

I am working with my colleague Trevor to share my eye care story and trying to show why we need the pathway in every area. We are talking to eye care and learning disability organisations and commissioners across London.  

We need your help to get the pathway in London! If you would like to work with us to achieve this, please get in touch