Helping Homebound Seniors

The UCSF Care at Home Program offers comprehensive primary and palliative care to homebound adults living in San Francisco. A variety of medical and allied services are offered, but a need has been identified for home-based eye care.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the US older population grew rapidly for most of the 20th century, from 3.1 million in 1900 to 35 million in 2000. The United States will experience further expansion of the older population for many decades to come, fueled by the baby boom cohort that began turning 65 years old in 2011. Health and other services are needed for this growing elderly population.

As a result of COVID-19 lockdowns or the fear of seeking healthcare during a global pandemic, many individuals have avoided medical visits, including eye exams.
The problem is even worse for homebound seniors, as in-home eye care is not widely available. Neglecting visual exams could result in undetected eye conditions or even blindness.

The risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma – leading causes of visual impairment in the United States – increases with age. Timely detection and management of these conditions may improve health outcomes and quality of life.

“Visual impairments may lead to other issues, such as depression, falls, and injuries that may result in the need for hospitalization.”

In collaboration with UCSF Geriatric Medicine, the Division of Optometry, led by Taras Litvin, PhD, OD, initiated an optometry at-home program to conduct visual exams. The focus is on those patients most at-risk of eye disease or falls.

Phlianthropic support is needed to help cover the costs of visits and portable eye exam equipment. To support this new program, visit