Children in Focus

As part of our Children in Focus campaign, SeeAbility has been delivering sight tests and dispensing glasses in 11 special schools in London, Buckinghamshire, County Durham and Greater Manchester.

Sight is very important to a child’s learning and development, and early eye care can prevent more serious sight problems later on. Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children but are often not accessing the eye care they need. We found over four in ten pupils had no history of sight tests or eye care, and yet half of the children we have seen have had a problem with their eyes or vision.

Our research shows that thousands of children with disabilities across the country are missing out on the eye care they need. Now at last thanks to our work and the support we have had, NHS England is planning a similar programme of eye care for special schools across England from 2020. You can read more about this and our new report A Change in Sight.

Our model of special school sight testing is based on the 'Framework for the provision of eye care in special schools in England' paper, written in collaboration with the country's optical bodies. You can read more this paper, and our latest reports on our reports and research page.

We have done this critical work through fundraised and granted income. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, this is leading national change and we continue to run our programmes of eye care work and campaign for reforms. Please go to our donate page and make a real lasting difference to children and adults with learning disabilities in this country.


Schools we have worked in

Since the start of the school year in 2013 SeeAbility's specialist team has been working in a number of special schools. We have delivered sight tests in the following schools:

SeeAbility only works in a selection of special schools as part of our Children in Focus project. We have now carried out sight tests for nearly 1,500 children!

Lisa gives Nasir from The Village School a specialist sight test


The team

Optometrist: they carry out the sight test using a range of equipment suitable for children with disabilities, check the health of the eyes, prescribe glasses when needed and make referrals to other professionals.

Orthoptist: they see all the new four to five-year-olds starting in reception and do a joint assessment with the optometrist to check for squints and lazy eyes.

Dispensing optician: they chaperone the optometrist and measure for and fit any glasses that are needed, undertake repairs and also give advice on helping children to wear their glasses.


Our stories

Read about some of the children we have given sight tests to and the difference we have made to their lives.



SeeAbility would love to hear from areas that have or are setting up similar services. The opportunity of a new NHS funded programme means that from 2020 new services should be up and running in many more schools!

For more information on our work in special schools, contact Lisa Donaldson (Head of Eye Health) on 07899 975 143 or email: [email protected]

Or Laura Christie (Head of Eye Care and Vision) on 0161 748 6107 or email: [email protected]

Or Noopur Patel (Optometry Clinic Manager) on 01372 755 068 or [email protected]