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Elderly Leicester residents risk permanent sight loss, warns AOP

The AOP and Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, are calling for financial support from Government after a domiciliary provider was forced to cut services to care homes

elderly woman
Getty/Morsa Images

Thousands of elderly residents in Leicester are at risk of going blind without “urgent action on NHS eye care,” the AOP has warned.

The AOP is working with Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, to call for urgent action over eye care provision for elderly residents in the city’s care homes.

Previously, eye care for 150,000 care home residents in Leicester has been provided by Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians.

However, lack of available grants from the Government and widespread cancellations due to infection rates have led to services being cut, leaving residents without access to vital eye care.

Zainab Suleman and Asma Patel
Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians founders Zainab Suleman and Asma Patel
Ashworth raised the AOP’s concerns, alongside those made by Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians’ owners, Leicester business Jacob and Joe, in a letter to the secretary of state for health and social care.

The letter calls for the Government to provide financial support for the eye care providers to ensure the valuable service is not lost.

Ashworth said: “I have called on the secretary of state for health to provide the support urgently needed by domiciliary eye care providers so that they can continue to provide this invaluable service.”

He added that the secretary of state “must meet with the Association of Optometrists to enable Jacob and Joe Ltd, and all domiciliary eye care providers, to continue trading and meet the needs of care home residents.”

Zainab Suleman, optometrist and founder of Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians, said: “Many of our elderly patients have significant problems with their eyes, which require constant monitoring and treatment. Conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma cause permanent sight loss if left undiagnosed and untreated – and some of these patients simply haven’t had proper eye care in two years.

“For these people, whose health and mobility are already limited, simple things like reading, watching television and seeing their loved ones is a lifeline.”

Suleman added that Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians is “devastated” at the need to cut services, and that the company is “desperate for some intervention that will mean we can keep helping the patients who need our care – care that is just as vital as seeing your GP or community nurse.”

The issue comes after OT reported on domiciliary staff not being able to enter care homes due to high incidents of the omicron variant earlier this year.