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Elaine Styles, Optometrist and Trustee, Vision Care for Homeless People

Elaine Styles, Optometrist and Trustee, Vision Care for Homeless People

Homeless people and rough sleepers have more eye problems than the general population, with high prevalence of uncorrected refractive error and undiagnosed cataracts, glaucoma and binocular vision problems. They are also more exposed to risk factors such as poor nutrition, trauma, smoking, drug abuse and infections. Yet they are confronted by unnecessary barriers when it comes to accessing NHS care.

As a small charity, Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) has made real progress in meeting needs, raising awareness and helping to improve lives. We see first-hand how important NHS sight tests and vouchers are and why it is essential to do more to improve timely access for those in most need.

Our success has has been possible by a community of willing eye care professionals and eye care providers who support our work, and NHS commissioners who have tried to work around bureaucratic systems and processes to enable us to deliver this vital service.

We are strong advocates for spreading best practice and tackling inequalities. We will continue to work with FODO and all sector partners to tackle the barriers homeless, and other vulnerable people face when accessing NHS eye care. 

03 May 2023

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