An eye health initiative run by Aston Villa Football Club has pledged to provide corrective lenses to children identified with vision problems.

As sponsor of the scheme, Essilor has donated and fitted a mobile eye care van with optical equipment to provide eye examinations.

The Villa Vision Van would tour schools and community venues across Birmingham to deliver interactive lessons, educational materials and vision screening to hundreds of children each term.

Aston University’s optometry school has also partnered with the initiative to share clinical and research expertise, as well as collect data from the screenings for myopia research.

Nikhil Sonpal, Villa Vision project manager and optometrist, said: ‘We believe that every child should be given the visual foundation to succeed. Children may not always recognise whether there is something wrong with their vision and it is particularly damaging if vision problems go undetected.

‘We understand that particularly in more deprived communities, many children and adults may face a number of significant challenges and barriers when it comes to accessing eye care services.

‘Seeing well improves most aspects of everyday life, from a child’s overall development and in particular their education. There is also that link across to parents too, where good sight may improve work opportunities and general wellbeing.’

Sonpal added that Essilor’s support provides the project with the opportunity to fulfil its ambition and successfully raise awareness of the importance of eye health.

Dr Andy Hepworth, professional relations manager at Essilor, said: ‘It was fantastic to see how the sight testing instruments fitted into the van, along with a frame selection for children and we’re looking forward to dispensing corrective eyewear to people who really need it.’

He added that the initiative was a natural fit for Essilor’s Vision for Life social impact fund and its mission to improve lives by improving sight.

‘We really do need to take a closer look at the impact uncorrected refractive error has been having, it’s enormous and a simple starting point is for the public to realise the vital importance of regular eye tests. Villa Vision provides an opportunity to start communicating this message,’ Hepworth said.