Published on 03/03/2022
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Villa Vision Bus
  • Since its launch in 2020, the innovative project has engaged with around 4,500 people to raise awareness of eye health
  • Over 1,800 school children have received vision checks from the Aston Villa Foundation, aided by around 30 Aston University optometry students
  • Project is funded by the Premier League, the Professional Footballers’ Association and Aston University and supported by lens supplier Essilor

Villa Vision, an innovative collaboration between Aston University, the Aston Villa Foundation and optical lens supplier Essilor Vision For Life is celebrating the end of its second year having engaged with around 4,500 individuals to raise awareness around the importance of eye health and equip inner-city children with the tools to learn in order to enhance their educational experience and help with their longer-term prospects.

Launched in 2020 and delivered by the Aston Villa Foundation, the initiative was the first of its kind in the UK and sought to deliver a programme of eye-health awareness lessons in the classroom, free vision and colour vision screening, followed by a more comprehensive eye test and free glasses to those children who require them, using a fully operational custom-designed mobile eye care unit.

With the successful completion of Villa Vision’s second Autumn Term in December, a challenging yet successful year means that the project has now benefited schoolchildren in many local inner-city schools, including: 

  • Over 2,200 children receiving the Villa Vision workshop across 30 schools
  • Almost 1,800 children having a vision and colour vision screening check in local primary schools
  • Approximately 280 children (around 16%) being flagged for further investigation
  • Around 100 fully comprehensive eye tests being conducted at schools using the Villa Vision eyecare van
  • Nearly 120 pairs of glasses being provided to children requiring them, helping to support both their educational and social development.

Nikhil Sonpal, Villa Vision Project Manager and optometrist at Aston Villa Foundation, said: “The Villa Vision team is extremely proud to have directly reached several thousand local children in supporting their visual health and eye care knowledge through the Foundation’s established network of local primary schools and community organisations.”

Leon Davies, professor of optometry and physiological optics in the School of Optometry at Aston University and Vice President of the College of Optometrists said: “We are delighted to see the results that our clinical and research expertise in evidence-based eye care is providing our local community. 

“The provision of free eye care and raising awareness of the importance of eye health is vital in increasing the long-term prospects of schoolchildren and I am looking forward to future developments of the project in 2022.”

Funded by the Premier League, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and Aston University and delivered by the Aston Villa Foundation, the project is designed to fill a crucial lack of knowledge surrounding the importance of having an eye test and how preventative measures can ensure, among a host of benefits, a lifetime of good vision.

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long-established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

Vision for Life™, Essilor’s social impact fund was created in 2015 to support sustainable vision care infrastructure and programmes, focusing on the 2.7 billion people in the world living with poor vision. It’s the world’s largest strategic giving programme dedicated to eliminating uncorrected refractive error.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email: 

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