Life-changing children's eye care scheme to be expanded

An eye care programme for children living with special needs has received an unexpected green light from NHS England. Simon Jones reports

A country-wide roll out of NHS England’s (NHSE) Special Schools Eye Care Service (SSECS) to all children in special schools has received universal praise from the optical profession following a lengthy evaluation. 

Approximately 165,000 children will benefit from the SSECS when it launches in 2024, following a successful trial in 80 special schools, which concluded in 2022. The service used in the schools was developed by learning disability, autism and sight loss charity SeeAbility, which described NHSE’s announcement as ‘life-changing and sight-saving.’ 

SSECS was set up in 2021 using SeeAbility’s model of care and research evidence of high levels of unmet need from previous special school eye care services. It offered special schools with a visiting ‘one-stop shop’ of sight testing and eyewear dispensing, along with a report for parents and teachers.  

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