VCHP draws 70 volunteers for bumper Xmas service

Vision Care for Homeless People’s 70+ volunteers had a busy and rewarding week, as part of Crisis at Christmas, with eye examinations performed in no less than 36 clinics, within ten centres, across the capital. From Hackney to Hammersmith the clinics were led by an optometrist with assistance from dispensing opticians, optometry students and other volunteers.

Nearly 300 eye examinations were performed, with 16 patients referred for further investigation. The Outside Clinic’s generous donation of four mobile optometrist kits really facilitated the running of the centres.
For some it was simply a case of a friendly chat and having their glasses repaired and cleaned. Most guests received a full sight test, resulting in a prescription for specs. For some, the optometrists identified more serious conditions and having two volunteer consultant ophthalmologists, Anomi Panditharatne from UCLH NHS Foundation Trust and Jan Van der Hoek from Scarborough Eye Hospital, on hand was a blessing. One emergency referral was made with the patient taken straight to hospital by Crisis at Christmas volunteers.

243 pairs or specs – generously donated by Specsavers – are now being processed for the patients by Essilor’s London lab. Once glazed the specs will be protected in donated Optoplast cases.

Grateful thanks go to all of the volunteer companies – particularly Topcon and Andrew Brandi who assisted in setting up the loaned technology on site including a slit lamp, tonometer and Henson 8000 Field Analyser. Thanks, too, to Mainline Instruments for providing accessories for the mobile teams to use.
Picture shows Andrew Brandi, Topcon; Elaine Styles and Harinder Paul of VCHP

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