“The smiles on their faces have been the motivation” 

An East London independent practice is offering free sight tests and spectacles during Ramadan for those struggling with cost of living pressures

Four people stand outside a blue shopfront with the words Eyecare Express printed in white on the building
Eyecare Express

The Woodford Green independent practice, Eyecare Express, is offering free sight tests and spectacles during Ramadan for those who might not otherwise be able to afford eye care.

The month of fasting and reflection is observed by more than 1.6 billion people worldwide – including around one in five UK optometrists.

Eyecare Express owner and optometrist, Yassar Yousaf, explained that he decided to establish the initiative after observing the effect that the current economic climate is having on patients.

“We have noticed that unfortunately people are struggling financially,” he said.

“Recently, we met a young lady who was struggling to pay her rent, feed herself and her family and look after her parents. She couldn't afford any spectacles and was not entitled to any NHS help. That’s where this initiative really started from,” Yousaf shared.  

An AOP survey of more than 1000 members of the public in 2022 found that 62% of respondents were putting off going to the opticians due to the cost of living crisis.

The same survey found that 36% of respondents were making do with out-of-date prescriptions.

Yousaf shared with OT that people who were struggling financially would receive a free sight test and standard single vision spectacles during the month of Ramadan.

“This is a charitable endeavour on behalf of the Eyecare Express team, and we hope it is a means of spreading peace and love,” he said.

Those looking to make use of the offer simply need to call the practice on 020 3731 5871 and quote the reference ‘Ramadan.’

Yousaf shared that there has been a positive reaction to the initiative so far, which has been promoted on the practice’s social media channels.

“The response has been great. The smiles on their faces have been the motivation and the push to keep going,” he said.

UK Fundraising reports that Muslims donate an average of £708 per person annually, compared with £165 per person among a nationally representative non-Muslim sample. A large portion of charitable donations occur during Ramadan.

Banner caption: The Eyecare Express team, from left, optometrist and director, Yassar Yousaf, Leya, Tracey and Adeil.