Eye health

Preventing sight loss

According to Public Health England, Barnsley has the worst rate of preventable sight loss in the country. Half of cases are avoidable by having regular eye tests every 2 years, stopping smoking, eating healthily, keeping eyes covered in the sun and only drinking alcohol in moderation.

Find out more in the Barnsley eye health leaflet (PDF 1.11MB).

Eye tests

An eye test can pick up the first signs of an eye condition before you notice any vision changes. There's lots of opticians in Barnsley; you can find a local optician on the NHS website.

Depending on your age and circumstances, or if you suffer from a particular health condition, you could be entitled to a free eye test or help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses. You're also entitled if you receive certain benefits. Find out if you're eligible for a free eye test on the NHS website, or check with your optician before you book your test.

Barnsley Optometry First - Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

There are 25 opticians in Barnsley who offer a free service for people with minor eye problems including sore eyes through the MECS scheme. Patients will be asked questions about their symptoms to assess how serious the problem is and will be offered an opticians appointment within 24 hours if urgent or within a few days if less urgent. This means you don’t have to wait to see a GP or attend A & E. 

Minor eye conditions include:

  • Dry eye, gritty and uncomfortable eyes
  • Something in the eye                                         
  • Irritation and inflammation of the eye
  • Pain in the eye                                                                             
  • In-growing eyelashes                                       
  • Significant recent sticky discharge from the eye, or a watery eye

For more information contact the Opticians First Minor Eye Care Service.

Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO)

As part of the RNIB, the ECLO, based at Barnsley Hospital  is here to help you and your loved ones face the future with confidence.  We are able to assist people with an eye condition to access the support they may need, when they need it.

We provide advice on a range of matters, including:

  • Living with sight loss and remaining independent
  • Details of latest aids, equipment and technology
  • Benefits and concessions you could be entitled too
  • Education, employment, housing and leisure
  • Eye conditions and treatment information
  • Emotional support
  • The advantages of certification and registration

If you are newly diagnosed or have been living with a sight condition for some time, we are here to help. 

For more information, contact the Eye clinic officers on 01226 432684.

Sensory Impairment Team

If you have any sight or hearing loss that affects your daily life, you can find out more about an assessment and receive advice and support on specialist equipment to help you live independently. There is no charge for the service, but there may be a cost for some of the equipment recommended for you. 

Contact the Sensory Impairment Team on (01226) 775800, Minicom users - (01226) 787856 or text - 07825 454888

Barnsley Education Inclusion Services 

Helping schools and settings support children and young people with SEN and disabilities.  Our specialist qualified team of professionals have a breadth of knowledge and experience in meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

We can offer your school or setting tailored support to improve the progress and outcomes for pupils who have a range of SEND needs. 

Contact Barnsley's Education Inclusion service to find out more about our specialist support, resources, and events, as well as useful information from other schools and settings.

Additional resources

Visual impairment

Dual sensory impairment

Barnsley Vision Strategy

Barnsley’s Vision Strategy Action Plan has adopted the key priorities identified by the England Vision Strategy (EVS) in their 2018 refresh;   

  • Prevention - To improve eye health and prevent sight loss across England within diverse groups and the wider population.
  • Commissioning - To promote effective commissioning strategies across health and social care supporting an integrated and person-centred pathway.
  • Services - Adults, children, young people and their families have access to the right services, advice and support when eye health and sight loss problems arise.
  • Independence - Adults, children and young people can learn, relearn or retain key life skills on a continuing basis as driven by their needs with access to appropriate professional support, aids and adaptations including technology.
  • Self-determination - To develop and enable face to face and online peer support opportunities and self-help and self-advocacy resources to empower adults, children, young people and their families to achieve their aspirations.
  • Inclusion - To promote inclusive environments and equality of opportunity to enable blind and partially sighted people to fully participate, contribute and live independently.

Our Barnsley Vision Strategy Action Plan implementation is monitored by the multi-agency Barnsley Vision Strategy Group.

Barnsley Vision Strategy Group want to hear from people about their experiences of sight loss, from the point of diagnosis to on-going support and services.

What is the Vision Strategy Group?

The Vision Strategy Group is made up of representatives from people with sight loss, Barnsley Council, HealthWatch Barnsley, local charities, Barnsley Hospital, Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)Barnsley Blind and Partially Sighted AssociationSheffield Royal Society for the Blind and our Local Optical Committee.

What's the purpose of the group?

We're working together to develop ways to prevent sight loss, promote local eye health services and develop services for Barnsley people who have a sight loss.  We use the term ‘sight loss’ which includes people who have a sight loss that's affecting their everyday life; they may or may not be registered as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind).

We want to:

  • work with people with sight loss to look at what can be done with the resources we have      
  • let people know what is already available locally
  • help support new community projects and look at developing services

Your feedback

In April 2019, we asked adults with sight loss in Barnsley to fill in our survey for the Vision Strategy Action Plan. 94 questionnaires were completed.

We also asked adults to attend our Your Sight Matters event on Saturday 11 May 2019 at Barnsley Town Hall to talk about services that could help people with sight loss. 28 adults with sight loss attended the event and gave their views.

What we did with your feedback

From the survey feedback, we outlined the main themes that people with sight loss felt are important. We then asked attendees of the Your Sight Matters event to decide which themes where most important.

Read our report which explains what you said to us and what we did or are hoping to do with your help.  

Thank you for your help with the survey and engagement event and your continued support. It is very much appreciated. Your help is vital to any improvements made in Barnsley.