West Yorkshire local and OutsideClinic optician, Jaclyn Fortune, is encouraging other eye care professionals to move from the high street and into at-home services, to help vulnerable people receive the eye treatment they need.
The over 65s make up almost 25% of West Yorkshire’s population, an age group which is likely to continue increasing. [i]Therefore, the work that Jaclyn and many others do in their communities is vital as demand for at-home eye care services continues to increase.
Jaclyn left the high street for OutsideClinic as she was attracted by the idea of offering a more personal service.
"I became an optician to make a difference to people's lives and have found that working in domiciliary enables me to do that in a way that a regular high street optician job didn't. When you know you’ve made a difference to someone’s life by helping them to see, it’s wonderful,” said Jaclyn.
It is well known that the UK population is ageing, with more people living longer lives than previously. There are now over 15.5 million people aged 60 or over and 3.2 million people aged 80 or over, with almost 600,000 of these aged over 90.
Around 40% of people aged 65 and over have a limiting long-term illness or disability, and it is estimated that this will rise to over 6 million older people by 2030.[ii] As a society we tend to take for granted how easy accessing particular services can be, but for those with long-term illnesses, disabilities or mobility problems accessing eye care isn't simple for them.
"I was delighted to find out that it was possible for an optician to visit me at home as I have difficulty getting out. The test was very thorough and professional and OutsideClinic's staff were friendly and polite. Not only is the service wonderful for people like me who can't easily get out, but it was delivered to a standard that exceeded my expectations." - Jamie Robinson. 2020.
As we get older the risk of conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma increases but with many older people struggling with their mobility they are unable to access high street opticians which is why domiciliary optometry is so important within today’s society.
Jaclyn said: “The people we see are so grateful for our support and our technology is now as good as any high street opticians. It's a privilege to see people in their homes and doing so gives me insight into how everyday things like lighting and positioning of furniture contributes to how well they can see, so I can make even more of a difference."
Outside of her role as an optician Jaclyn is a keen hockey player, spending her weekends training, playing matches and having quality time with her friends and family. Since leaving the high street opticians Jaclyn loves that she gets a good work/life balance whilst still making a difference in people's lives within the West Yorkshire community.