Tag Archives: eye care

Optimism Blog Header

We are incredibly delighted to announce that Visioncall has been successfully acquired by Optimism Health Group, a UK-based healthcare investment Group. 

Visioncall looks forward to further expanding our business and improving how we can deliver upon our promise of helping residents of care homes see better and live better. 

In November 2020, Optimism also acquired OutsideClinic, a UK market leader, annually providing eye care and hearing care to over 100,000 older people in their own homes.  

As part of Optimism’s growing portfolio, this means that Visioncall will now be part of an exciting association of fellow healthcare providers dedicated to improving the quality of life of our nation’s elderly population. 

Henry Pitman, Chairman of Optimism, commented: “I am delighted that we have completed the acquisition of Visioncall, which is a well-established business providing a vital service to some of the most vulnerable people in society. 

“Visioncall’s eye care service in care homes is complementary to OutsideClinic’s eye care in people’s own homes. The acquisition of Visioncall consolidates Optimism’s position as the UK’s leading domiciliary eye and hearing care provider.’

Michelle Le Prevost, Managing Director of Visioncall, said: “We are excited about joining Optimism and working alongside our new sister company OutsideClinic.

“We believe that this acquisition marks an exciting new chapter in our journey to help our patients see better and live better.  

“As care homes re-open, the business is seeing accelerating demand for eye and hearing tests. Optimism’s investment will allow us to continue expanding our business, recruiting a further 20 Optometrists over the next two years.'”


Will the acquisition affect Visioncall service levels?

No. We can confirm that this change will not impact Visioncall’s eye care service to both our existing and new care home partners. 

This move will ensure that Visioncall continues to provide the same innovative and person-centred service for which we are known. 

I am currently a Visioncall Partner. Do I need to do anything?

No. Visioncall will continue to operate as usual and provide your home with our home-visiting eye care services.  

Who is Optimism Health Group?

Optimism Health Group is a UK healthcare investment group providing technology and clinical and support services to the rapidly growing 75 to 90-year-old age group.  


For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Visioncall Image

The pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of our daily lives and here at Visioncall our patients are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

Being able to hug our loved ones again has been such a joyous occasion. But it is essential that we still work together to protect those around us. Good eyesight and good eye health remain essential for our patients, and we are committed to implementing whatever means necessary to deliver an exceptional and safe service.

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease throughout the country, we will be putting all necessary measures in place to protect those individuals who are still at risk from the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

 

Health

New Infection Control and Prevention policy.

As the pandemic hit, we introduced a host of new measures to support our teams in protecting those at risk. To start, we implemented our new Infection Control and Prevention policy outlining how we will continue to provide our service safely and how we can best avoid the spread of COVID-19.

One of the most significant changes we have made to our service is introducing full PPE when seeing individuals. Our PPE includes gloves, face shields, aprons and hand sanitiser. We also sanitise our equipment before each use to protect our patients. When our clinical team are out they will come equipped with a total supply of PPE, assessing individuals safely.

The way we manage patient safety and infection control must still include additional steps to ensure the health and well-being of our patients. As we continue to navigate the new normal, Visioncall will follow government guidelines implementing any measures necessary to protect our patients. 

At Visioncall, we believe in better overall eye health to help our patients see better and live better. If you are a care home manager and are worried about your residents’ eye health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to arrange a visit from one of our optometrists. 

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Diabetic retinopathy blog header

Visioncall understands that various conditions and issues can strike when it comes to eye health, and many of them are associated with our daily lifestyle. 

One lesser-known condition that is directly affected by overall health and wellbeing is diabetic retinopathy.

This week marks Diabetes Awareness Week. We want to use this occasion to highlight diabetic retinopathy, affecting thousands of people living with Diabetes across the UK every year.

But what is this condition, and how is treated?

The facts

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition related to Diabetes, which affects the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to become blocked, leak or grows haphazardly. 

This can lead to black spots or gaps in the vision and even sight loss if left untreated.

The condition can affect anyone with type 1 or 2 diabetes, whether they’re being treated with insulin, tablets, or diet. 

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood pressure and blood sugar levels are always high.

What is it like?

Diabetic retinopathy generally has no noticeable symptoms until it’s advanced. 

It’s essential to attend regular sight tests and annual diabetic eye screenings for this reason, as screenings can pick up early signs of the condition and aid in early diagnosis and treatment.

There are some symptoms that diabetic retinopathy sufferers may experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the condition is present. However, anyone experiencing any of the below symptoms should immediately seek advice from their GP:

– Gradually worsening vision

– A sudden loss of vision

– Floaters

– Blurred or patchy vision

– Redness of the eyes

– Eye pain

How can it be treated?

It’s crucial to keep Diabetes under control, both in the early stages, to prevent the issue from developing and in the more advanced stages, to stop it from worsening. 

For advanced diabetic retinopathy affecting the sight, laser treatment can stabilise the retina and leak blood vessels.

People living with Diabetes can reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy or prevent the issue from worsening by following some essential practices. 

People living with Diabetes should control their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and take diabetes medication as prescribed. 

It’s essential to attend any screening appointments when invited and ensure that advice is sought if there are any changes to the vision. 

One of the best things people with Diabetes can do for their health is to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.

To find out more about diabetic retinopathy and eye health, visit our eye health troubleshooter.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Summer eye care blog header

When it comes to eye health, it can be best to adopt a seasonal approach to ensure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to protect your eyes from the changing temperature and light.

Scorching sunshine, allergies, dry weather and bright light can all play havoc with eye health, so it’s essential to ensure that you’re taking the proper steps to care for your eyes during the summer months.

Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help keep eyes healthy and happy this summer.

1 – Wear sunglasses

Many people don’t realise that you should wear sunglasses every time you step outside during the summer months, even on cloudier days. 

UV (ultraviolet radiation) rays are damaging to the eyes. 

While they come from the sun, they can also reflect off of surfaces such as water, so it’s essential to don a pair of appropriate glasses whenever you’re out and about, even if it’s just in the garden for five minutes. Sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection are the best kind and protect the eyes from various damaging rays.

Ultraviolet radiation overexposure can cause short-term photokeratitis or photo conjunctivitis (commonly known as ‘snow blindness’), but in the longer term, it can lead to conditions such as cataracts or even skin cancer, so it’s essential to protect the eyes adequately.

Choose your ‘indoor’ glasses with UV-protective lenses to help combat the risk, and you can even get prescription sunglasses to ensure your eyes are protected at every opportunity.

2 – Wear a hat

Sunglasses provide excellent protection of the eyes on hot and sunny days, but they won’t offer complete protection to the area around your eyes. 

The gaps in their design can lead to UVR exposure in the area around the eyes, so it’s a good idea to wear a hat with a brim that’s at least three inches wide, to significantly decrease exposure levels and limit the risk of conditions such as skin cancer.

3 – Use eye drops to stay hydrated

Summer can dry out the eyes, combining a hot, dry and often stagnant environment and cool, artificial air from an air-conditioning system. 

Dry eyes can be uncomfortable and irritating, but they can also bring a heightened risk of eye infections; rubbing the eyes can transfer germs, dirt or debris into the eye. 

It’s best to regularly use eye drops to hydrate the eyes, especially if there’s air conditioning in the vicinity, and remember to blink periodically to lubricate the surface of the eye naturally.

4 – Take care if you have allergies

Those with allergies can suffer during the summertime as pollen levels rise. Many people start to experience chronic hay fever symptoms, including redness, itchiness and watery eyes.

Contact lens wearers should consider switching to glasses during the summer months, which can be much more comfortable to wear if you’re experiencing symptoms and can also help to shield the eyes better from dust and pollen particles. 

Your optometrist can advise further.

5 – Eat healthily, and stay hydrated

A balanced diet is good for the whole body, but especially the eyes. 

A diet packed with the right ingredients and plenty of fluids can help support eye health and keep you bright-eyed all summer long. 

Fill your plate with ingredients such as oily fish, like salmon or tuna, green leafy vegetables, avocados, eggs, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits to keep eyes healthy, moisturised and in tip-top condition. 

It’s also essential to drink plenty of water during the summer, as we dehydrate quicker. 

Six-eight glasses of water each day will help you to stay hydrated and healthy all summer long.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinked In, and Twitter.

blephatitisblog

At Visioncall, we believe in better overall eye health to help our patients see better and live better. 

Good eyesight and good eye health are two separate entities, both equally important to a better lifestyle. 

Visioncall empowers care home partners and patients to take care of both eyesight and eye health, with our expert guidance and treatment available to whoever needs it, whenever it’s required.

Eye health conditions can strike at any time, and one common condition is blepharitis. But what is this condition, and how is it treated?

The facts

Blepharitis is a mild bacterial infection of the eyelids, which causes inflammation and swelling.

It may be associated with some common skin conditions, such as dandruff, extremely dry or excessively oily skin.

Blepharitis is a common condition that can affect anyone of any age, but it’s most commonly found in those aged over 50. 

Blepharitis is usually a chronic condition, which means that most sufferers will experience repeated episodes, followed by periods with no symptoms at all.

It’s not a contagious condition; you can’t catch blepharitis from someone who is experiencing symptoms.

Blepharitis isn’t usually a serious condition, but it can be uncomfortable for patients and may make it difficult to wear contact lenses while symptoms are present.

What is it like?

Blepharitis is relatively easy to spot, with the most common symptoms including:

  • The rims of the eyelids become red
  • Whitish scales sticking to the roots of the eyelashes
  • Burning, sore or itchy eyes and eyelids
  • Although uncommon, blepharitis can also cause cysts in the eyelids

How can it be treated?

Blepharitis is a chronic condition that requires repeated, long-term treatment. 

You may not see improvements for several weeks, but you must treat the condition appropriately, or symptoms will persist.

Recommended treatment for blepharitis is in three stages. Treatment is required twice daily in the first instance, then reduced gradually over weeks.

Step one: Soak a flannel in a water solution with either baby shampoo or anti-dandruff shampoo – this shouldn’t be too hot, just warm to the touch. 

The flannel should be held against the eyelids gently for a few minutes to help the oils in the eyelid glands to flow freely again.

Step two: Dip a cotton bud into the warm shampoo solution, and gently wipe this along the strip between the eyelashes and the white of the eye, on both the upper and lower eyelids. 

This will remove dead bacteria and help dislodge any scales from the rims of the eyelid and eyelashes.

Step three: Finally, a brolene ointment should be applied to the eyelashes, smearing this gently across them to coat them fully. 

A small drop should also be applied to the eye to help kill off any remaining bacteria. Brolene is purchasable at a pharmacy without a prescription, but you can speak to your pharmacist, GP or optometrist for more advice.

If the condition does not appear to be improving following the recommended treatment, you should consult an optometrist or a GP.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

360° Service Blog

At Visioncall, we’re proud to offer a ‘360°’ service that ensures end-to-end care and quality assurance for every single one of our care home partners, clients and patients. 

It’s something that sets us apart from our competitors. We’re proud to bring that extra level of quality, care and personalised service every time we interact with our clients.

But what does a ‘360° service’ mean? We’ve highlighted a few key points below:

Our in-house lab

Our in-house Visioncall Lab is a point of difference that we’re very proud of! 

In a nutshell, our Lab facility means that we can make every pair of glasses prescribed for Visioncall patients. 

We have the framework that means every pair is tested and checked by someone who is part of team Visioncall. The same dedicated team who will visit and test the resident in their home. 

The Visioncall Lab also enables us to offer fast, fuss-free and fine-tuned repairs for our patients, but more on that in a moment…

Repairs and replacements

Our dedicated Repairs & Replacements team will personally inspect all repairs or replacements, whether it’s one or multiple pairs of glasses. 

As part of our service, we include any emergency repairs or adjustments required for your residents, and we’ll carry these out on-site.

Unlike competitors, Visioncall has an in-house lab, where all other repairs are conducted by our specialist Repairs & Replacements team for end-to-end quality assurance. 

Having round-the-clock access to the Visioncall Lab means that we can ensure high quality and speedy response for you and your residents every time you call on us.

Patient eyewear advisors

Our Patient Eyewear Advisors will provide detailed eye care recommendations for residents following a Visioncall sight test. 

They’ll include helpful background information, such as who performed the sight test and what equipment was used, and detailed insights into the glasses that have been recommended to allow you to make an order with ease.

The Patient Eyewear Advisors can also liaise directly with residents’ next of kin, where required, to outline to them the recommendations and help them to feel engaged and up to date with the care their loved one is receiving, and so that they can have some input into the style or type of glasses chosen for a patient.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Trips and falls blog header

Unfortunately, trips and falls can be a common occurrence for the elderly population – in fact, falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for over-65s in the UK, with one in three experiencing a fall every year.

The likelihood of impaired vision increases significantly with age, meaning that older people are more likely to experience trips and falls, even with carers present. 

The way we see it is fundamental to coordinating our balance and stability and how we move around. 

When vision is impaired, negotiating obstacles or stairs becomes much more challenging, impacting how safely residents can move around unaided.

Regular sight testing can play a crucial part in preventing falls by detecting and appropriately treating visual impairment instances. 

In contrast, regular visits from an optometrist can provide both patients and carers with helpful advice.

We’ve highlighted just a few ways that regular sight testing can help residents remain steady on their feet and feel confident travelling safely around their home environment.

Discovering and understanding conditions

Suppose a patient is experiencing trips and falls more often than usual or appears unsteady on their feet. In that case, they may be experiencing a sight loss condition. 

Only a sight test with an optometrist can distinguish what the case might be. Several common eye health issues can affect sight and directly contribute to falls.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) creates a gap in the central vision, while glaucoma blurs the peripheral vision, creating a ‘tunnel vision’ effect and blocking obstacles from view. 

Cataracts create an overall blurry vision, making it hard to identify where hazards might be, while a case of diabetic retinopathy can cause multiple gaps or black spots in the vision. 

A rarer condition that can also affect mobility is Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which can distort how rooms look and make it difficult for a resident to move around confidently and safely.

Any one of these common conditions could affect how a patient sees the world and how they move around, so a regular eye test can help monitor conditions and understand what possible issues a patient might be experiencing.

Helping carers adapt their care.

A regular sight test can uncover these common conditions, but that’s not all. 

Armed with the knowledge of the issues a patient might be experiencing, carers can easily understand their patient’s needs and adapt their care routines to suit.

Perhaps a patient needs more assistance travelling around the home, or help with basic tasks such as bathing or dressing, to lower the risk of falling. 

If their central vision is affected, they may struggle with specific tasks. In contrast, damage to their peripheral vision may make specific tasks more hazardous, like moving unaided around the home or taking the stairs.

Regular sight tests and advice from optometrists can ensure that carers can provide the right care and support for each patient, limiting their risks and helping them feel confident.

Prescribing appropriate spectacles

A regular sight test detects underlying conditions, monitors existing conditions, and assesses the patient’s changing needs. 

Having an up-to-date prescription and wearing the right glasses is crucial in lowering the chance of experiencing a fall.

Sight tests will determine the quality of the patient’s vision and assess any changes, allowing the optometrist to prescribe suitable spectacles, even if that means separate spectacles for different tasks. 

The optometrist can provide advice and guidance on which pair should be worn for which activities. Include this information on the patient’s Visioncall Lifestyle Passport for easy reference whenever a carer or manager needs it. 

This will allow the care team to ensure that residents are wearing the right glasses and have the correct prescription, lowering their probability of tripping or falling and helping them feel safer and more independent every day.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Four reasons to have a sight test

Regular sight tests are an essential part of our healthcare regimes. 

Adults are recommended to have a sight test at least once every two years, and over-65s or those with existing eye conditions are advised to have at least one sight test per year.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions have meant that for many, sight tests are now well overdue – some people by as much as two years. 

So, eye tests must become part of our regular healthcare regimes again as we head further back into normality.

Currently, Visioncall is prioritising essential and emergency care for patients, but if you are concerned about your eyesight or that of a relative or resident, please don’t hesitate to contact us to provide consultation and care as quickly as possible.

We’ve highlighted four reasons why you should book a sight test.

1: To prevent sight loss

Did you know that over half of sight loss cases are preventable?

Issues such as glaucoma and cataracts can be caught and treated early with regular sight tests. In contrast, more serious issues such as diabetic retinopathy must be kept under regular observation to limit the impact they can have on your sight. 

A regular sight test can monitor conditions like these and enable treatment before they become too advanced, preserving more of your sight.

2: To improve your quality of life and maintain your independence

Having regular sight tests can undoubtedly improve your quality of life, particularly if your vision is beginning to diminish. 

Regular check-ups can ensure that any developing conditions are treated appropriately and ensure that you have the correct prescription and are wearing the right glasses. 

This means that you can continue to enjoy doing all of the activities you love, whether that’s reading, watching the television, playing games or gardening.

Losing the quality of your sight is, unfortunately, a common occurrence as we age, but regular sight tests can help to limit the impact of any visual deterioration. 

Regular sight tests can maintain your independence and help you enjoy the moments that make life special, as well as being able to complete those day-to-day tasks that we all take for granted, like choosing your clothes, bathing, eating your favourite meal and moving around your home.

3: To keep you safe and prevent falls

Falls are common in the care home environment, and often, they can be due to poor vision. 

Visual impairments such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can reduce the quality of your sight, cause gaps or spots in the vision or even distort your surroundings, increasing the risks of falls and injuries. 

Regular sight tests can keep a watch on these conditions and ensure that your sight is as good as it can be, keeping you safe in your surroundings.

4: To monitor other serious issues

You may think that a sight test only serves to check your vision’s clarity and quality, but it can do so much more than that. 

A professional sight test can also uncover some other eye health concerns and severe health conditions which can largely impact your lifestyle.

Severe conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer can all be uncovered during a routine eye exam, so it’s crucial that you make time to book in for a test regularly – it could save your life.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Associate Blog Image

Leaping into a new job can often be intimidating, but how much easier would it be if your job offered you complete flexibility and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable people each year?

For 27-year-old Priya Chopra, the decision to swap a role as a high street optician for becoming a Visioncall Associate Optometrist was simple – and made even easier by having the chance to trial the role first with a ‘shadow day’.

“I’m always looking to develop my skillset, and I just thought ‘, Why limit yourself?'”, Priya explains. 

“This side of optometry is very overlooked, but it’s hugely rewarding. On my shadow day, it really struck me that something as small as a new pair of glasses can make a huge difference to someone’s life.”

Leicester-based Priya joined Visioncall in 2019. While she found the idea of domiciliary care daunting to begin with, she soon found that working in the care home environment was far more relaxed, far more patient-focused, than her retail optometry experience.

Priya explains: “I’m here to help people, which I really enjoy. It’s so nice to have the freedom to listen to the patients’ wonderful stories, to have a laugh and a joke with them, but still to get the work done without feeling pressured.”

Now more than two years into her role with Visioncall, Priya has found that a significant benefit of the job is the sense of reward she gets from working with care home residents – something that was compounded in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Since COVID-19 hit, I’ve realised how important our visits were to patients,” Priya says. “When we’ve been able to return to homes, patients have been so grateful for our visits, and it shows how important it is that they get regular treatment. 

“These people are in the same environment all day, every day, and they rely on doing the thing they enjoy the most if they still can, like reading or knitting or watching the TV. Helping them to be able to do those tasks again is so valuable.”

Priya works closely with her patient community, visiting care homes around Leicester and the Midlands. 

She decided to take advantage of the flexible Associate package offered by Visioncall, opting for two days a week as an Associate Optometrist and working a few days a week with an independent optician. 

The Associate role’s flexible structure meant that Priya could choose her working days and pick the hours to suit her lifestyle, supporting a better work-life balance.

“I really enjoy my days with Visioncall, and the Associate package is great. I have so much flexibility, and it means I can keep a day in the community, which I didn’t want to lose. For me, it works really well. 

“The Associate package is great for everyday life too; the hours are very different to retail hours. It’s Monday-Friday, and generally, you’re finished by 4.30 pm, so you have much more time to yourself. The flexibility is probably my favourite thing about the Associate package that you wouldn’t get otherwise.”

For other optometrists contemplating a career change into domiciliary care, Priya has some words of advice on how to take your first steps with Visioncall: “I would tell anybody to take a shadow day. Keep an open mind, as it’s going to feel unfamiliar, but know that Visioncall has the right support and training processes, and there’s always somebody on the other end of the phone you can talk to.

“I think Visioncall is one of the best companies I could take on this role with because the support was phenomenal. They gave me the time I needed to find my own rhythm and flow. It’s a great role, a very, very rewarding job – I would definitely recommend it.”

Visioncall’s Local Clinician Network spans the UK, with hundreds of expert optometrists and dispensers on call to help whenever one of our care home clients need them. 

We may be headquartered in Glasgow, but our Clinician Network covers the entire country, with a Visioncall Local Clinician in your area, no matter where you are.

We are always on the lookout for more Visioncall Associates, so if you are an optometrist or dispenser searching for a new challenge in a way that fits around your lifestyle, visit https://jobs.vision-call.co.uk/ to find out more.

Protecting Patients During The Pandemic Blog

In a recent blog, we outlined our new approach to prioritising patient care due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The pandemic has changed other practices to ensure our teams’ safety and, crucially, care home residents and staff.

In the first half of 2020, when Coronavirus restrictions came into force, Visioncall published an Infection Control and Prevention policy to set out the practical steps our practitioners had to take to operate safely in residential settings.

The policy (available here) has been regularly updated with governmental and scientific advice and represents industry best practice. 

Measures that we’ve all grown used to, including hand hygiene, social distancing, disinfection and mask-wearing alongside medical-grade PPE, are all mandatory for our teams.  

Every Associate Optometrist and Dispenser working directly with patients have undergone extensive training on the policy and has been operating under its conditions without fault for almost a year.

Our team is regularly tested too. With designation as primary care staff through the NHS’s remobilisation scheme, our people comply with UK Government guidance on routine and regular testing.

Some of our partner care homes may wish for further testing on the day of a visit, which our Associates will comply with.  

Sterilisation measures – on hands, equipment and spaces we operate in – have been stepped up to minimise any disruption to day-to-day care delivery within homes and avoid creating additional workload for carers and managers.  

Our partners share our commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19. We will work collaboratively with managers and on-site teams to ensure that all of Visioncall’s infection prevention protocols meet the policies in place in each care setting.

Visioncall is committed to maintaining the highest levels of patient care across the UK.

To find out more or to book a visit, please visit our contact page

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.