What is a low vision service?
When your sight cannot be improved by medical treatment or ordinary spectacles, the low vision service will identify the best way of improving your vision – especially for everyday tasks such as reading. This could be achieved by magnifying glasses, improved lighting, antiglare filters and techniques to help cope with poor sight.
Who can use this service?
Anyone over the age of 16 who is experiencing difficulties with their sight and who
- Has had a sight test within the last 12 months; and
- Is registered with a GP practice in the Vale Royal, or Cheshire East area; or
- Is undergoing NHS treatment from an NHS provider in these areas.
If you do not meet these criteria we can offer you a Low Vision assessment for a fee (currently £50) plus the cost of any magnifier supplied.
Because many eye diseases are age-related, most of our clients are elderly, with the majority in their 70s and 80s – we’ve even had clients over 100! Age is not a barrier to maximising whatever sight you have.
How much does it cost?
The service is funded by local NHS bodies and is provided free of charge. Any magnifier supplied is also supplied on loan free.
Where is the service provided?
We conduct low vision assessments
- In Crewe, at our head office at 14 Chapel Street Crewe CW2 7DQ; and
- In Macclesfield, at Vision House, Byrons Lane, Macclesfield SK11 7JW; and
- In Northwich, at our monthly outreach facility at AgeUK Cheshire, 314 Chester Road, Hartford, Northwich CW8 2AB
We also provide low vision clinics at other outreach facilities, and we can advise you when you make an appointment. If you are housebound or have severe mobility problems, we could also see you in your own home.
How do I make an appointment?
You or a relative or friend can make an appointment, or you may be referred by an ophthalmologist, GP, optician or by social services staff. Just ring IRIS at 01270 250316 and we will make an appointment to suit you. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or call into our Crewe or Macclesfield offices. Most of our clients are seen within 10 working days, although arranging a home visit may take a little longer.
How long does an appointment last?
If you are a new client, the assessment will normally take no more than 60 minutes. If we supply you with a magnifier we will show you how best to use it. We can also demonstrate other helpful equipment such as task lamps, talking watches and clocks and similar aids to independent living which are available for you to buy. If you require other services, such as a visit from a rehabilitation officer or talking books or benefits advice, we can arrange these for you.
What should I bring with me?
Bring your normal spectacles, and any aids you use, together with examples of the sorts of tasks you find difficult – a book, perhaps, or a knitting pattern – even sheet music! This will help us work out what equipment would be best for you. We’re also happy for you to bring a relative or friend along.
What happens after my appointment?
Once you are a client of IRIS you can access our low vision service at any time. If you have difficulties with your magnifier we will help you; if it breaks we will replace it; if your sight deteriorates we will give you a further assessment and supply a new magnifier. Our standard practice is to arrange to see you after 3 months to see how things are going, and to keep in touch with you through a newsletter. We will also invite your comments on our service through a feedback form.