A new partnership between Specsavers and the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has launched to help vulnerable people to access NHS-funded eye tests in their own homes or care homes.

The initiative, launched earlier this year in West Sussex and Hampshire, will now expand throughout the RVS volunteer network in England, Scotland and Wales.

Poor vision increases the risk of falls and Government statistics show that 220,160 hospital admissions of over-65s were due to falls in the last year alone. The partnership aims to help more people get eye tests in their own homes.

Specsavers’ home visits service provide an eye care service for people who are unable to visit a high street optician unaccompanied. The partnership will now see over 20,000 RVS volunteers effectively mobilised to inform thousands of eligible UK residents that this free NHS-funded eye test service is available to them.

Sue Apps, Project Co-ordinator for Royal Voluntary Service, said:

“This partnership is very important for us because it supports our idea of keeping older people in their own homes and independent for as long as possible.

“We have equipped our volunteers to make sure the word about this service is spread to the people they work with day to day who could benefit from it, whether it be in their own homes or care homes.”

Wayne Sleep OBE, Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador, is lending his weight to the Royal Voluntary Service and Specsavers campaign.

In support, he said:

“I believe that people should be able to keep their independence for as long as possible, and this partnership between Royal Voluntary Service and Specsavers helps to do just that.

“We can take good eyesight for granted as a way to keep tuned into the world around us, and I’m delighted that the fantastic work carried out by the Royal Voluntary Service now includes raising awareness of this service for people who would not otherwise be able to access high street eye care.”

Dawn Roberts, Domiciliary Clinical Director at Specsavers, said:

“We don’t believe that the inability to reach a high street optician should be a barrier to good eye health. Good vision means people are more likely to spot potential hazards and reduce the risk of having a fall something nobody wishes to endure at any time let alone at Christmas.

“That’s why Specsavers has a home visit service. All of our Specsavers’ visiting opticians are fully qualified, experienced and DBS checked and the free NHS-funded home eye tests are carried out with the same care and attention as in a Specsavers store.”

More information on Royal Voluntary Service can be found at https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/ and details of Specsavers’ home visits service can be found at https://www.specsavers.co.uk/home-eye-tests.