Villa Vision, part of the Aston Villa Foundation, delivers 6,000th screening to local children across Birmingham

Thanks to Villa Vision 6,000 children across Birmingham have had their vision screened.

Even mild to moderate vision loss can have a massive impact on a child’s behaviour, welfare and learning outcomes, sometimes leading to a life of missed potential.

Villa Vision is led by the Aston Villa Foundation in collaboration with Aston University with funding from the University, Premier League, Professional Footballers Association and EssilorLuxottica’s charitable Foundation OneSight. Designed and delivered by the Aston Villa Foundation’s dedicated eyecare team, Villa Vision helps to raise awareness of the importance of eye health for both children and adults within the local communities of Birmingham.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the UK, delivering workshops, vision screenings, and fully comprehensive eye testing within Villa Vision’s fully equipped mobile eye care unit, in primary and secondary schools across Birmingham.

A child’s first involvement with the initiative will be through an eye health awareness workshop in the classroom, utilising equipment such as VR headsets, 3D glasses and eye models to give children a sense of understanding about the importance of looking after their eyesight. This is immediately followed by a vision and colour vision screening for each child.

Villa Vision uses Thomson Screening’s SchoolScreener software for vision and colour vision screening which makes the process of screening a class of children more efficient and versatile, whilst keeping children engaged in the vision screening process. So far, over 6000 children have been screened by Villa Vision using the software.

Research shows that children with undiagnosed vision loss, however mild, can be severely disadvantaged in school. So much teaching, and therefore learning, is done through the use of visual aids and if a child cannot see properly then they cannot engage in the class. It can also impact a child’s friendships, if they can’t see the ball during playtime, or they miss visual cues from friends, they can feel left out by their peers. Ultimately this can negatively affect learning outcomes and social development which can have long reaching impacts well into adult life.

Villa Vision’s aim is to reduce these negative impacts by ensuring each child has access to a vision test and if a problem is detected, they can then be referred and receive the treatment or tools they need. SchoolScreener has helped to identify children with a potential undiagnosed visual concern and has led to Villa Vision supporting many of these children by following up with full eye examinations and providing glasses to those requiring them.

“It’s so exciting to see the children when they put on a pair of glasses for the first time and suddenly see the world more clearly. By using the SchoolScreener software, that can be administered by anyone with just 30 minutes training, we have been able to reach over 6000 children within local primary and secondary schools across Birmingham. I feel very proud of that achievement and very much we will be celebrating another 6000 soon.” said Nikhil Sonpal, Optometrist and Project Manager for Villa Vision.

Cole was one of almost 1,000 children who have been flagged for further investigation through the vision and colour screening process. Cole said, “When I came into the room I thought ‘wow, what are those glasses?’ When I sat in the chair, I was feeling quite excited because I would get to put on some cool glasses!”

When asked about how long the vision screening had taken, Cole said, “It was quite short, I thought it would have taken about 10 minutes, but it only took around three minutes.” On how he felt after the check, Cole added, “When I was walking out of the room, I felt a bit excited.”

Following the vision and colour vision screening process, Cole went on to have a fully comprehensive eye examination in Villa Vision’s fully equipped mobile eye care unit, receiving two free pairs of glasses. Following the experience, Cole shared:

“In the classroom, the glasses have helped my teacher, as they don’t need to bring the flipchart closer for me and they also help me with seeing the whiteboard. Also, when my friends show me something from the other side of the classroom, without my glasses I wouldn’t be able to see before but with them on they would help me. They made me feel that actually I am not invisible.”

Since the project’s inception in 2020, Villa Vision has reached several successful milestones to continue the project’s growth and impact on the local community, with almost 15,000 individual interventions actioned and over 400 pairs of free glasses having been prescribed to more than 200 children, who may not have otherwise received them, impacting their education and learning.

“SchoolScreener has made a tangible impact on the goals of Villa Vision. It is efficient and versatile and has helped to make both vision and colour vision screening more accessible to those children that are targeted through the programme. The administrative capability of the software allows Villa Vision to provide parents with a bespoke report to outline the results of the check.” said Nikhil Sonpal, Optometrist and Project Manager for Villa Vision.

 “Involving the parents is so important, and being able to give them a report is a great way to start the process – they can see the results for themselves. For many parents they simply had no idea their child’s vision wasn’t 20/20.

 “Helping these children, and by extension their families, still gives the Villa Vision team that goosebumps feeling of having made a real difference to someone’s life and future.”

ABOUT THOMSON SCREENING

Thomson Screening is the leading supplier of software for Vision and Hearing Screening and other School Health Needs including Health/Risk Assessments, Immunisations, Height/Weight and associated data management.

The company was founded in 2011 by City, University of London, and further develops and commercialises the work of Professor David Thomson, for 25 years head of Department at the University’s Department of Optometry and Dr. Sebastian Hendricks, Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Paediatric Audiovestibular Medicine.

Thomson Screening’s products address healthcare, education and workplace needs around the world with the software has managing over 3million screenings to date. Customers include the NHS in the UK, non-profit organisations in the USA and NGOs in developing countries. https://schoolscreener.com/

Web: https://schoolscreener.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/schoolscreener/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thomsonscreening/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SchoolScreener

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Schoolscreener/

ABOUT THE ASTON VILLA FOUNDATION

The Aston Villa Foundation is a registered charity (number 1152848) that delivers the community and social responsibility work of Aston Villa Football Club.

Working alongside key local and national stakeholders, the Foundation delivers projects, initiatives and provides opportunities to achieve its mission of ‘Working Together to Enrich Lives’.

The Foundation and its partners work with people from a variety of backgrounds in Birmingham as well as supporting the wider ‘Aston Villa family’ through several departments including schools, football in the community, disability, health and wellbeing, education, youth and community and community relations.

For more information about the Aston Villa Foundation and Media Enquiries, please contact Content and Communications Officer Annie Benton at [email protected]

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @avfcfoundation

Website: https://www.avfc.co.uk/foundation