Speaking to OT during the Special Olympics, which was held in Sheffield on 7–10 August, Mr Saunders referenced SeeAbility’s Children in Focus initiative when discussing the eye care needs of those competing at the event.
SeeAbility established its Children in Focus campaign in 2013 after observing that “quite a few of the adults we work with had not received the appropriate eye care when younger.”
The project runs in eight special needs schools in London, with pilots also carried out in Durham and Manchester. The charity’s team will see around 1000 children every year, test their eyes and provide them with spectacles, Mr Saunders explained.
40% of the children that the charity sees have not accessed eye care before, “which is really very poor considering there is so much community care out there,” Mr Saunders said.
At the National Summer Games where he dispensed spectacles to athletes, the dispensing optician shared: “I believe that optometrists have a duty of care to approach people, to connect with charities that work with young people with special needs. I think that if you are going to work properly in practice you need to support patients from birth to death. And if you are supporting these super young children, you are building a better sense of care…you will draw the whole family into your practice.”