World Sight Day: HRH Countess of Wessex Visits Perseid School
For over eight years, Perseid School has worked in partnership with SeeAbility, an award-winning charity specialising in supporting people who have learning disabilities or autism, who may have also have sight loss or complex support leads, to live ambitious lives. Research by SeeAbility has found that children with learning difficulties are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children and are often not accessing the eye care they need.
Since 2013, SeeAbility have delivered specialist sight tests and dispensing glasses for Perseid pupils onsite, allowing them to continue their learning and development, with the eyecare they vitally need and deserve. To mark World Sight Day (14th October), International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Global Ambassador, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited Perseid Lower School to see the outstanding work of the Special Schools Eye Care Service at Perseid.
The Countess and the IAPB are enthusiastic about the vital service to test eyes and dispense glasses to pupils in special schools across England. Perseid School has a long legacy as a long-term adopter of the programme and the positive and lifechanging effects of the service, being the first school nationally to ‘sign up’ to receive the service.
Upon visiting Perseid Lower School, The Countess watched our pupils have an eye assessment by SeeAbility specialists, as part of the NHS England special schools eye care service and met pupils who benefit from SeeAbility’s eye care. HRH said:
“The key thing I have learnt with all my work from Vision 2020 and IAPB is that the vision sector has really come together over the years, especially for World Sight Day. What is really inspiring to see, is that best practices are so easily shared through IAPB. These best practices can hopefully influence everything else and improve the lives of millions around the world who have poor vision.”
The IAPB campaign #LoveYourEyes encourages people to book a sight test, and HRH Countess of Wessex has spoken out in support of the campaign following her visit to Perseid School following research which indicates the pandemic has damaged global eye health: The number of children developing short sightedness doubled under lockdown and, on current trends, half the world’s population will be short sighted by 2050.
Perseid School will mark World Sight Day in their assemblies and continuing to promote the need for proper eye care and treatment among children with disabilities, and how they can access the care they need.
“Perseid was the very first school to partner with SeeAbility back in 2013. It was ground-breaking at the time to bring full sight tests and glasses dispensing into special schools, now it is multi award winning and the NHS is planning its own programme nationally in all special schools. The difference the project has made to our children is profound - especially for the children who had never had a sight test and were found to need glasses. Many were living their lives in a total blur before. Now those pupils are happier, more able to learn, feel less frustrated and have higher self-esteem. It was a pleasure to speak to Her Royal Highness about the benefits we have seen” Tina Harvey, Executive Headteacher Perseid School