Millions of people risking their eyesight

By Kathleen Oliver

National Eye Week begins today with a focus on encouraging people to get regular eye tests which are vital for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of common eye conditions.

Eighty-five percent of people in the U.K have problems with their vision.  Yet despite this, millions of British people are avoiding regular eye tests seemingly because they are worried about how much the tests will cost.

Boots Opticians & the sight charity Eyecare Trust have joined together this week to promote National Eye Week which aims to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye checks. Thirty millions Brits are entitled to free eyecare, paid for by the NHS, or by their place of work but it appears that people are not taking advantage of this free or discounted eyecare.

Sight loss costs the British economy over five billion pounds a year, and it is predicted that the number of people who are registered blind will double by 2030.

Chairman of the Eyecare Trust Iain Anderson said: It is vital that we encourage more people to have regular sight tests- generally once every two years unless advised otherwise by your optometrists.’ Anderson points out that worryingly, it is elderly people and children, who are most vulnerable to sight loss who are not getting their sight tested despite being entitled to tests on the NHS.

The Eyecare Trust estimates that one in five children may have an  undetected problem with their eyes. However, the trust also estimated that fifty percent of parents with children aged eight or under have never taken their child for an eye test. Such statistics are extremely alarming considering children’s eyesight is usually fully developed by the time they reach eight years old.

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Eye tests can also uncover many other underlying health problems so there is no reason why anybody should be avoiding them.

For more information on National Eye Week log onto www.nationaleyeweek.co.uk