A charity that offers free sight tests and spectacles to homeless people has opened up its first clinic in Exeter.
Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) now has seven clinics, which are operated by volunteers, throughout the UK. Other clinics are based in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester.
Based in the Clock Tower Surgery in the city’s Wat Tyler House, it joins a facility where more than 25 services are offered to homeless and vulnerable people under one roof. The clinic will be open on Tuesday afternoons.
Speaking about the need for the clinic in the city, optometrist and chair of the charity, Elaine Styles, commented: “Vulnerable people often feel excluded from accessing healthcare and our approach of taking eye care to centres where they feel at ease can really start to transform lives.
“In our other clinics we have seen prescriptions ranging from +17 to -20 dioptres. In fact, 35% of the people we see would be registered blind under World Health Organization criteria if they did not have glasses. For some, it is simply a case of providing reading spectacles, but for others we can pick up serious pathology which needs treatment.”