Looking Beyond Lenses
At Outlookers we pride ourselves in being able to offer support to anyone wherever they are on their sight loss journey, and recently a number of volunteers have been involved in ensuring more people are directed to us at an earlier stage.
Opticians are more often than not the first professionals patients come across on their vision loss journey, which makes them very well placed to impart some basic technical knowledge and signposting that can make adapting to life with a visual impairment less of a daunting task further down the line. Step forward our volunteers, who have the expertise and know how to give the next generation of Optical Specialists a full and frank insight into life with low vision.
So how have we been involved?
Over at Bradford University, volunteers have been working with third year Optometry students in a series of Zoom sessions, allowing the students to have any of their low vision questions answered and also providing them with up-to-date information on the impact of a smartphone to the life of someone with a visual impairment, in terms of both accessibility and the potential of apps, imparting hints and tips they have used themselves to get through the challenges of vision loss in daily life, and giving a very honest insight into the personal, economic and social impact of low vision.
So far, too large cohorts of year three students have benefited from our volunteers “expertise by experience”, and special thanks to Matt and Annette from the Universities Optometry team who have supported this partnership working.
Meanwhile, over at Huddersfield University, once again volunteers have been involved with third-year Optometry students.
On these occasions, volunteers have been attending the University in person to effectively act as low vision guinea pigs, giving the students first-hand experience of several rare eye conditions, and once again passing on knowledge and information with regards to the benefits of smartphone technology & apps, along with a host of other hints, tips and adaptions to living with low vision.
And of course special thanks in this instance to Robin and Caroline from the Universities Optometry department for their involvement with this.
So far, 28 students in Huddersfield have benefited from our expertise however, with the cohort for next year set to more than double, we would continue to welcome any of our members who would be interested in volunteering .
Anyone who is keen to get involved in the first instance can contact Sam by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07462 596497.