ArticlesIt also wants all young people with a learning disability leaving school to get a check-up to ensure undetected sight loss does not impede their transition to adult life.
Regular sight tests can help detect eye conditions and early treatment can often prevent permanent sight loss. But tests also provide indications of general health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure which can also lead to sight problems.
RNIB Scotland's pioneering Visual Impairment Learning Disability team, based in Glasgow, also emphasises that earlier detection of sight loss can lead to significant savings in social care and mobility costs.
Caroline is a 37 year old woman with a learning disability who began falling up to seven times a week. She clung onto walls when she was attempting to move independently and required the support of a care worker to move around her home. Caroline's head tilted to the right-hand side, for which she needed physiotherapy and had become increasingly reliant on care support staff to simply move short distances which was frustrating to her as she had always been independent. She had become increasingly isolated from her friends. Care staff were concerned that there may be a problem with Caroline's vision and referred her for a functional vision assessment and eye test.
Caroline was found to have severe difficulties in focusing her eyes, was sensitive to glare, and was unable to judge depths and distances - processing information through sound and touch alone. As a result of the sight test and assessment, major changes were made to Caroline's home to make it more highly contrasted and well lit. Caroline is now able to move unaided and her posture has improved, meaning that she no longer needs physiotherapy. Caroline's mobility has improved so much that she is now able to visit her friends without support, giving her greater independence, choice and control.
RNIB has estimated that this has also led to savings in the support offered to Caroline of over £14,000.