20 years for Crisis at Christmas Opticians and Eyecare Service partnership

The service saw 50 volunteers provide 162 eye examinations in December 2023

 The Crisis Opticians and Eyecare 2023 Bermondsey Clinic Team
Vision Care for Homeless People

The London Crisis at Christmas Opticians and Eyecare Service recognised a 20-year partnership in December 2023.

The service, which is run as a partnership between Crisis, the charity for people experiencing homelessness, and Vision Care for Homeless People, saw 50 volunteers provide 162 eye examinations in December.

Through the service, 51 pairs of ready readers were dispensed, and 138 pairs of spectacles have been dispensed to guests since the clinics, with powers ranging from +9.5D to –13D.

In addition, 13 referrals were made to secondary care for further investigations.

The volunteer service organisers were optometrists Bryony Allen, Parth Shah, and Maya Patel.

The service was supported by optical businesses including Topcon, which equipped the pop-up ophthalmology and optometry clinic, Specsavers, which provided spectacle frames and financial support, and EssilorLuxottica, which provided lenses and glazing, along with many other partners, the charities acknowledged.  

Penny Ardley, a dispensing optician from St Albans, volunteered with the service for the first time, commenting: “A colleague told me about volunteering, and it seemed a great day to come along. Everyone is extremely friendly and very grateful. It is good to see a different aspect of optics, and I plan to volunteer at clinics every Monday this year.”

Romualdos Visokal, from Lithuania, received a pair of spectacles, sharing: “Very kind people have helped me. It is so good – I couldn’t read anything before I got these glasses.”

In 20 years of partnership, the service has grown from one initial clinic to nine in London.

Lead picture: The volunteer team at the Crisis Opticians and Eyecare 2023 pop-up optometry and ophthalmology clinic in Bermondsey. Left to right: Suzanne Althauser, ophthalmologist, Sophie Green, optometrist, Marcus Regan, assistant store manager and student dispensing optician, Arif Dungerwalla, optometrist, Sana Sherif, student optometrist, and Bita Manzouri, ophthalmologist.