Adults with Learning Difficulties

We are always keen to find community optometrists who are happy to see adult patients with learning difficulties. There are many patients who have had their eye care in the eye clinic since childhood who, as adults, could easily transfer to having their eye care in community optometric practice.  As well as being a rewarding group of patients to connect with for both the optometrist and practice staff, to be able to have their eye care closer to home in an environment less chaotic than the eye clinic, would be a great advantage for many of these patients.  The continuity of care which many optometric practices offer is also of particular importance to this group of patients to allow them to establish good relationships with the practice team.

Seeing patients with learning difficulties requires a revised approach in terms of the ‘tests’ performed as part of a sight test, but also the practice environment and communication with the patient and anyone who accompanies them.


If you are interested in seeing patients with learning difficulties, we would recommend visiting the website of SeeAbility, a UK charity providing specialist support, and eye care for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss ( SeeAbility maintains a database of practices who have shared information on their services for people with learning disabilities which is searchable via their ‘Find an Optometrist’ tool  (

As well as adding your practice details to the SeeAbility website, please email the NNUH Optometry Dept ( to let us know that you are interested in seeing this group of patients.

Below you will find links to some useful resources from the SeeAbility website as well as some other sources of information relating to this patient group.

Other resources:

SeeAbility guide to making your practice accessible to patients with learning difficulties:

SeeAbility’s ‘Telling the Optometrist About Me’: (a useful form to have completed in advance of the sight test covering lots of information to help the appointment to be a success).

SeeAbility Eye Care Factsheets:

Other Sources of Information:

College of Optometrists Guidance on Examining Patients with Learning Disabilities

DOCET Three Part Series on ‘Examining Patients with Learning Difficulties’:

Part 1: Clinical Background

Part 2: The Appointment

Part 3: Navigating the Legalities

(CET closing date 02/12/19)

DOCET have said that they intend to keep this series available indefinitely and may extend the CET closing date.