A NEW partnership is launching in Newport this week with the aim of helping vulnerable people access free NHS-funded eye tests in the comfort of their own home or care home.

Specsavers, which has a branch in Austin Friars, Newport, and Royal Voluntary Service have come together ahead of the festive season to put the spotlight on keeping people safe in their own home and promoting their services to those most in need.

Katie James, domiciliary joint venture partner for Gwent, said: "Our partnership with Royal Voluntary Service’s volunteers is an exciting, positive step we can take to prevent avoidable accidents in the home this Christmas time.

"Good vision is essential as it can help lower the risk of someone having a fall. Research tells us that falls happen in the home more than anywhere else, many of which could be prevented with the correct glasses.

"We don’t believe that the inability to reach a high street optician should be a barrier to good eye health. That’s why Specsavers has a home visit service and we want to spread the word as far as possible to those vulnerable individuals who have not had a sight test recently to take advantage of our expertise."

In 2018, the Public Health Outcomes Framework reported in one year alone, around 220,160 emergency hospital admissions related to falls among individuals aged 65 and over in the UK, with around 146,665 (66.6 per cent) of these aged 80 and over.

Sue Apps, project co-ordinator for Royal Voluntary Service, said: "This partnership is very important for us because it supports older people in their own homes and helps to prevent falls.

"We have been busy working behind the scenes to educate all our volunteers across Gwent about Specsavers’ home visits service in recent weeks. Our volunteers are now out in their own communities, advising individuals about the benefits the Specsavers’ Home Visits service can offer - whether the person they care for is in their own home or a care home."

All Specsavers’ visiting opticians are fully qualified, experienced and DBS checked and the free NHS-funded home eye tests are carried out with the same care and attention as in a Specsavers store.