While a sight test is fairly routine, it’s important to consider easing anxiety for those who find it a struggle.
Anxiety, stress and frustration can be the result of a fear of eyes (ommetaphobia), communication difficulties or general discomfort.
Many conditions can make people feel socially or emotionally uncomfortable, which can cause them to not provide all of the relevant information.
It’s important that an optometrist has the means to engage with these individuals and help ease their anxiety.
As a sight test contributes to our general health, it’s important that optometrists have the means to engage with all individuals.
So it is essential the optometrist will take the time to communicate with them.
How can Visioncall ease sight test anxiety?
Visioncall optometrists undergo training to understand and respond appropriately based on the individual’s needs.
We train our optometrists to deliver a sight test with dignity, integrity and respect for the individual.
Presenting in a calm, friendly and respectful manner helps ensure the person is comfortable.
When an individual is calm and co-operative, our optometrist is then able to carry out a sight test.
We know that a subjective response isn’t always possible though (i.e. responding to a letter chart).
So our optometrists are trained to use alternative equipment to deliver an objective sight test to non-communicative individuals.
By easing sight test anxiety using this skill set, we can enable a person to have a regular sight test.
However, it’s vital that the individual is co-operative and willing to sit (even briefly) so our optometrist can carry out the sight test.
A regular sight test is important to check for any changes in a person’s prescription and their eye health.
Someone who experiences anxiety, stress and agitation during a sight test still needs their sight and eye health checked.
As Visioncall optometrists make use of both subjective and objective testing, these individuals are able to have a regular sight test.
Visioncall understands that when a person can see better, they can live better.
Additional care needs
A person with expressed additional care needs may not be in a position to clearly communicate their needs or concerns to someone in charge of their care.
It’s important that when we care for those who need additional care, we’re able to communicate with them.
Empathy and patience enable caring professionals to engage and draw a verbal or non-verbal response from a person.
This response is vital to truly understand a person’s needs and preferences.
Avoiding assumptions about a person’s preferences is key to achieving person-centred care.
That’s why Visioncall ensures that all of our optometrists and dispensers are trained extensively.
Easing sight test anxiety is possible simply by communicating and listening to an individual.
Visioncall can help maintain independence with eye care in a care residence.
Independence is important to all of us, whether we live in a care residence or with our loved ones.
We naturally need to feel in control of our life – make our own important decisions and control our finances etc.
Independence means not being dependent on others (if we have the capacity).
We can experience the feeling of independence through small tasks or responsibilities.
It’s more to do with feeling like you don’t rely on others and less to do with feeling like a burden.
Independence is empowerment.
It can be challenging to maintain independence with eye care for people living within a care environment, but it’s important not to overlook it.
Vision, eye care and independence
There’s a link between vision and independence – and it’s more important than we think.
That’s because we know that when a person can see better, they can live better too.
The benefit of better vision actually goes beyond being able to see the world more clearly.
Better sight can help ease the feelings of isolation and depression that limited mobility can cause.
Enhanced vision through glasses, improved lighting and signage can also reduce the risk of falls.
This can help boost an individual’s confidence in their mobility and encourage engagement with the world around them.
Ultimately, wearing the correct glasses is empowering and helps to maintain independence, especially within a care residence.
Maintaining independence in the home with Visioncall
We provide bespoke eye care planning documents for every person that we assist.
Making use of these person-centred documents can also help to maintain a person’s independence.
For example, our Lifestyle Passport indicates a person’s eye care needs and any eye conditions they may have.
This personalised information is useful in guiding caregiving, and more importantly, care adaptations.
For instance, if someone has lost their central vision due to Macular Degeneration it’s important to tell them who you are as you approach them.
Being aware of surroundings when living with sight loss can help someone to feel independent.
To find out more about how Visioncall can help maintain independence within your home, click here.
We all rely on signage and we can be guilty of underestimating the importance of it.
Signage is a wayfinder – something to help us safely navigate the world around us.
In essence, using signage is a natural instinct.
Since the beginning of time animals and humans alike have taken directional cues from nature.
Getting from point A to point B is difficult without something to show us the way, or even our location.
Some animals overcome this with an incredible inbuilt sense of direction!
Did you know that a Sahara Desert Ant is able to walk in a straight line for miles?
By comparison, humans have a faulty internal sense of direction… a blindfolded or disorientated human will walk in circles.
As a species, we’re susceptible to losing our way even in an environment that we’re familiar with.
This makes us more reliant on signage and finding other ways to help us find our way.
Using landmarks to find our way
When we lose our way, our natural instincts kick in and we rely on mental-mapping and memory recall to help us find our way.
The part of the brain that controls these skills is called the hippocampus.
We use landmarks to determine our location, our destination and how to get there.
The term “landmark” here isn’t exclusive to famous buildings – it can be a school, a particularly big tree or even your staircase.
Navigation relies on the hippocampus retrieving memories, but it’s not always as simple as that and that can cause us to lose our way in familiar surroundings.
Simply put, it’s possible to recognise a landmark but be unable to recall where from.
Mental-mapping and memory recall can become more challenging if damage occurs to the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is usually one of the first areas that Alzheimer’s disease will damage.
Alzheimer’s makes it harder to recognise familiar objects, create new memories and learn new information.
With our vision and hearing pathways running separately, a person with Alzheimer’s may emotionally respond to a landmark, but be unable to recognise it or pair it with directional information.
As a result, someone living with Alzheimer’s is prone to confusion within their own home.
Seeing a landmark from a different angle that the hippocampus can’t recall can also be very disorientating.
Depending on the progression of the disease, this can make daily life just as disorientating, if not more, than life would be for us without signage.
Signposting is an excellent solution to help someone when they’re lost and disorientated in their own home.
Our range of dementia signage eases orientation around the home by design.
The colours, typeface and icons we use are researched and specifically selected for universal understanding and contrast.
Visioncall’s dementia signage is beneficial within the home, ensuring that everyone can navigate safely through their home.
To browse our range of dementia signage, click here.
Many of us know that a sight test identifies a change in prescription.
It indicates whether glasses could help someone to see better and live better.
Ultimately, a sight test is an important health check for our eyes.
It can detect common eye and general health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
An optician is better clinically equipped to provide an optics diagnosis and treatment than a GP is.
If needed, the optician might advise you to follow up with your GP to get things investigated further.
What’s a regular sight test?
The term “regular sight test” means having your eyes tested yearly or every two years.
Your optician will recommend the frequency depending on your age, family history, current eye health and eye conditions.
Why is a regular sight test important?
A regular sight test is useful to identify and monitor minor or major symptoms of common eye conditions.
It’s important to attend your regular sight test to help prevent potential eye health problems before a condition progresses.
Your local optician monitors your current level of vision, any symptoms and eye health every time you visit to measure changes.
This helps to identify any changes to your vision or eye health and the rate of change.
It’s possible to identify eye conditions before symptoms begin or become noticeable.
If certain eye conditions are found early, they are often successfully treated before they cause serious damage or sight loss.
A regular sight test is proactive eye care, to help us to see better and live better for longer.
How can Visioncall help?
When someone struggles to go to the high street for their regular sight test, we’ll come to you.
We are one of the UK’s leading home eye care providers in the care home sector.
Residential homes are really in need of this help and assistance to enable their residents to live richer lives.
People deserve to see better and live better, including if their home is within a care environment.
You probably won’t see us during visiting times as we visit during the day, but if you do see one of our team, be sure to say hi!
Helping others to see better and live better is at the heart of everything we do.
We know that better sight can enhance a person’s quality of life and a regular sight test is the starting place to help make this a reality.
We also know that at least half of all sight loss is avoidable, so there’s a real need to help people live richer lives.
For most of us, a quick visit to the local optician is all it takes.
However, it’s not as simple to visit the high street for those who require extra care.
That’s where Visioncall is able to help.
What difference can better sight make?
When a person can see better, they can live better.
Better sight can enable a person to look at photos of their loved ones, watch the TV or simply see their dinner.
It’s the things we take for granted that can help someone with poor vision lead a richer life.
Better sight can enable someone to engage in the world around them, and help an individual to maintain their independence.
Correcting the sight of someone with poor vision can help them to avoid bumps and reduce their risk of falls.
How can Visioncall help your residents?
Our experienced opticians will visit your residence – you can tell it’s us by our uniform and ID cards!
We also request a private space to ensure we maintain a person’s dignity and privacy.
In addition, our person-centred approach helps us select an appropriate testing method and informs a bespoke eye care recommendation.
Engaging appropriately with the individual, we identify a person’s lifestyle and activities that they can’t do anymore due to poor sight.
All of our opticians are dementia-trained to support non-communicative individuals objectively to help them to see better and live better.
If this conversation isn’t possible, our team will speak with the staff in charge of a particular person’s care.
Whether or not a person can communicate doesn’t determine whether or not they can benefit from better vision.
So we use an objective testing method which involves as little distress and probing as possible.
Subjective testing isn’t suitable for everyone, but we can reach the same outcome of better sight using either method.
However, to achieve better sight, it’s important to engage with our eye care solution from start to end.
This is because we work together with our partners to facilitate and support daily eye care, from a sight test to care planning and adaptation.
Stay posted to find out what part you can play to help your residents to see better and live better.
So, what’s new at Visioncall?
First of all, welcome you to the all-new Visioncall website!
Thanks to the mobile responsive design and modern layout, it’s now easier than ever to discover more about Visioncall online.
We hope you enjoy the changes and keep your eyes peeled for future updates and improvements.
What else is new at Visioncall?
You may also have noticed that our website isn’t the only change… we have also updated our company brand to better reflect our values.
Our company strapline now reads ‘See better, Live Better’ to communicate our purpose succinctly to the world.
Visioncall is dedicated to helping those who need it most to see better and live better.
This is and always has been at the heart of everything that we do.
Our brand update serves to remind ourselves and our fantastic partners of this at a glance.
We know that sight directly improves a person’s quality of life and that’s why it’s our mission to help those who can’t help themselves.
It’s also about promoting awareness of eye care conditions and meeting an individual’s specific eye care needs.
We constantly develop ways to continue working with and supporting our partners to facilitate their residents to see better and live better.
Care planning innovations such as our Lifestyle Passport and promoting eye care awareness through staff training help us achieve this.
We look forward to the next step in our journey as we help make our mission a reality for the millions of people currently living with sight loss in the UK today.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy all the exciting changes introduced and discover more about Visioncall on our website.
While your regular sight test will be every year or two, it’s vital to know the tell-tale signs for needing a sight test.
For instance, it’s common for our eyes to ache due to a bad cold, sinus infection or lack of sleep.
However, if the pain is limited to the eyes and causes irritation then it’s time to visit your local optician.
An optician is better clinically equipped to provide an optics diagnosis and treatment than a GP is. If needed, the optician might advise you to follow up with your GP to get things investigated further.
Blepharitis (dry eye)
The most common cause of eye pain is dry eye syndrome or blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelid.
Watery eyes can ironically be a sign of dry eye, along with redness, stinging, blurry vision or a gritty sensation.
It’s easy to confuse these symptoms with tiredness, so a good test is to stare straight ahead at something for as long as possible. If there’s any discomfort or a need to blink before 10 seconds is up, it could be dry eye.
While dry eye can be a natural sign of growing old, it’s recently on the rise in younger people.
With all the time spent on computers and screens, because we blink less while we concentrate, the hydrating tears on the surface of the eye evaporate before we can replace them.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for dry eye, but there are several things an optician can do to manage and improve symptoms. For instance, prescribing preservative-free eye drops.
Another tell-tale sign of needing an eye test is bloodshot eyes.
Bloodshot eyes can be the result of a number of things from sleepless nights and allergies to dry eye.
Some of the most common causes of bloodshot are infections such as conjunctivitis, but if the redness is significant and causes discomfort you should make an appointment with your local optician.
Temporary and permanent visual disturbances can be another sign of needing a sight test.
A visual disturbance is something that interferes with sight, most commonly flashing lights, kaleidoscope vision, zig-zag patterns and blind spots.
Treatment can help relieve temporary visual disturbances.
As these visual disturbances can include partial or complete blindness for a brief period, they can be extremely distressing.
While these symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions, they’re most commonly associated with ocular and retinal migraines, otherwise known as visual migraines.
Typically, visual migraines cause problems in both eyes at the same time and can last up to half an hour. A visual migraine will usually subside by itself, but the best thing to do is rest until it’s better.
If you experience these symptoms, even if they disappear, it’s important to let your optician take a look at them.
The symptoms can appear with or without a headache, so it can be difficult to recognise what they are.
If you’re unsure whether it’s a migraine, you should seek advice from your optician.
Any pain, irritation and discomfort caused by dry eye, bloodshot eyes and visual disturbances can restrict daily life.
A sight test can help you to see better and live better sooner.
If you experience any issues with your eyes, visit your local optician as soon as possible.
If out of hours, contact NHS 24 by dialling 111 for advice. For any eye injuries that need emergency, visit your nearest Accident and Emergency department (A&E).