SeeAbility Press Release: New Tool from SeeAbility offers Better Information on People with Learning Disabilities when they attend for a Sight Test

20 April 2010

SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign has created a new Functional Vision Assessment tool for supporters of people with learning disabilities. The easy to use tool makes it easier for supporters to understand how much a person can see and come to the eye examination with useful information for opticians.

Vision is the key to learning, communication and movement. Around 1 in 3 people with a learning disability have a sight problem. Unidentified sight problems seriously undermine people’s quality of life and lead to avoidable sight loss and increased dependency. The Functional Vision Assessment aims to reduce the number of people who are living with undetected sight problems.

Stephen Kill is SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Manager for London and the South East. He explains, “The Functional Vision Assessment contains a checklist that looks at different aspects of a person’s vision. It asks questions like, ‘Can the person see objects on the table in front of them?’ It needs no special equipment: a supporter can do the assessment very quickly if they know the person well. It also includes advice if you need to set up some situations to check what the person can see.”

What the Functional Vision Assessment can do:
• It teaches supporters to recognise how a person with learning disabilities uses their sight.
• It shows the supporter what a person might have difficulty seeing.
• It is a starting point for supporting someone to have their sight assessed by an eye care professional. Supporters are encouraged to share information from an assessment with the person’s optometrist.
• It can help supporters identify questions to ask the person’s optometrist.

The Functional Vision Assessment is intended to be used by those who know that person well, such as family carers and support staff. Lizzy Schofield who is an Occupational Therapist in Sheffield says, “Understanding someone’s vision will have a huge impact on some of the assessments and skills development work OTs do with our clients. I think that it is straightforward to use and could highlight problems for my clients that I’d not previously considered.”

The Functional Vision Assessment is free to download from

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