Tag Archives: eye examination

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Patient Care Blog

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way all of us live our lives go about our daily business. 

At Visioncall, the way we provide our care has had to change too.

We still aim to provide the highest quality of patient care to everyone who needs it and have changed our approach to continue to do that while maintaining stringent infection control measures (find out more on those measures in this dedicated blog).  

So what are these changes, and how will they affect the care in your home?

As part of the NHS Remobilisation Scheme, Visioncall can still provide the same broad range of essential and emergency eye care services within care home settings with enhanced PPE and social distancing measures. 

Where residents, managers, nurses or carers are concerned about a patient’s eyesight, they can still call on us to drop-in to assess any urgent eye health requirement. 

Previously, we would have assessed that patient and then continued to deliver routine sight tests and consultations with all residents. However, routine visits are on hold for now due to current restrictions. 

Now, we are prioritising care for those who need our help the most – those with developments in conditions like cataracts or glaucoma, for example – to reduce any risks of transmission between patients themselves and to protect our team of optometrists and opticians.  

As always, we’ll provide care to whoever needs it. If residents display any symptoms or have complaints about they’re vision, don’t hesitate to call.

Most problems with our sight can be tackled simply if they’re caught early enough, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Visioncall is committed to maintaining the highest levels of patient care across the UK, helping individuals to see better and live better. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we’re delivering that care while to prioritise those most in need.

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.

 

Eye sight health tips

Our eyesight is something that we can take for granted, and when minor issues arise, we know what to do: book an appointment for a sight test. 

But what happens when a sight test isn’t available?

For those aged 65 and over, regular eye health check-ups are an essential part of maintaining personal independence and quality of life, as well as acting as a way of managing underlying health concerns – such as diabetes, strokes, and cancers.

While sight tests may only be available for emergencies and urgent care under current COVID-19 restrictions, that doesn’t mean your vision and eye health should suffer.

As one of the UK’s leading eye care providers to the care home sector, Visioncall wants to ensure that you’re equipped with the information you need. 

Our expert optometrists have shared their top 10 tips to help you understand the little things you can do daily to look after your eyesight for the long term.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Eating plenty of fruit and veg is essential for a healthy body. A balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals can help protect your eyes against conditions such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.

Choose protective eyewear 

Wearing glasses with a built-in UV filter can help protect against cataracts developing, as even the winter sun’s rays can be harsh on eyes.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases your chances of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as many other health issues, so it’s best to quit the habit completely.

Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against diabetes, which can lead to sight loss. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and trying to stay active where you can, will help you to achieve this.

Let the light in

Did you know that our eyes need three times as much light aged 60 than they did at 20? Keep your home bright and light by keeping the curtains open during the day and ensuring that lighting is appropriate. Daylight bulbs are an excellent investment to keep the house as bright as possible.

Stay active

Regular exercise, good circulation and oxygen intake are essential for eye health, so try and stay active as much as possible, and get outdoors as much as you can. Keeping windows open can also help you access plenty of fresh air during the day.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleeping is when your eyes are lubricated and cleared out, so a restful night’s sleep is essential. Aim for eight hours a night, and ensure your room is dark enough to aid a night of good, deep sleep.

Check your eyesight regularly

Checking your eyesight individually – or ‘monocularly’ – is an excellent way of comparing the vision in both eyes. Cover each eye in turn with the palm of your hand and pay attention to the level of detail you can see in each eye. Many people don’t notice that sight in one eye has deteriorated significantly, as your ‘good eye’ compensates for it.

Take screen breaks

Try and keep your screens at eye level, and around 40cm from your face, and every five minutes, look away from your screen and blink a few times. Follow the 20x20x20 rule too; every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away.

Check your prescription regularly

If you wear glasses or lenses, check that you’ve got the correct prescription, to prevent eye strain.

We hope these tips will help you maintain great eye health, but if you do have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist.

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

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.

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