Crisis at Christmas, in conjunction with Vision Care for Homeless People, at its clinics around London resulted in 279 eye examinations, with 192 pairs of single vision specs dispensed, and 43 bifocals. Additionally, 54 pairs of ready readers were dispensed, reflecting the age demographic of many of those who found themselves homeless during the festive period. Some 22 referrals were made for further investigation, with many seen by Consultant Ophthalmologist Jan van der Hoek.
Volunteering for the seventh consecutive year Jan, who works in York and Scarborough, referred several glaucoma patients, one of whom was at an advanced stage. Two cataract patients were referred for treatment and he highlighted a high myope lady of -8.00 Dioptres who was managing with one hard contact lens, and no glasses.
Topcon provided much of the diagnostic technology, kitting out the central Paddington clinic as a comprehensive consulting room, complete with OCT. Manned by a team of volunteers from the UK optical profession, with equipment provided by a host of generous industry supporters, the service was greatly appreciated by those in need.
Andrew Brandi, Topcon Southern Senior Manager, explained –
“We have supported Crisis for a number of years and it is truly humbling to see the goodwill that the charity gains. As we unloaded our kit, we were alongside Tesco delivering three palates of new sleeping bags – so many businesses pull together to make it such a success.
“Each year it becomes more and more organised and has moved on a lot from the early days when the service was quite rudimentary. Now we provide a complete test room with tonometer, field machine, computerised test chart and slit lamp, and the OCT means that the diagnosis can be made there and then.”
Vision Care for Homeless People run regular weekly clinics in London, Birmingham, Brighton and Manchester. Volunteer now: email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a volunteer application form.