Regular eye examinations key to preventing sight loss

11 October 2017

BBR Optometry is delighted to support this year’s World Sight Day (WSD) on October 12 which aims to focus global attention on preventing blindness and visual impairment.

2017 marks the fifth year of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Action Plan to reduce blindness and vision impairment which, throughout the world, is estimated to affect 285 million people and has already seen the prevalence of visual impairment drop from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.38% in 2015.

World Sight Day, run by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), aims to promote the global initiative, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, and this year’s theme is “Make Vision Count”.

Nick Black, Chief Executive at BBR Optometry, says: “World Sight Day is to be welcomed for highlighting the fact that 39 million people worldwide are blind while 246 million people suffer with moderate to severe visual impairment, which in many cases arises from conditions that could either have been treated or prevented.

“No-one wants people lose their sight if it can possibly be avoided which is why we wish to encourage all of our patients and members of the wider community to ensure they have regular eye examinations.

“This is so important because many sight-threatening conditions can be diagnosed during these examinations and treatment plans put into place which will ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

“Figures published in The Lancet to coincide with World Sight Day show that 89% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries but that, in 80% of cases, visual impairment is either treatable or preventable.

“I am delighted that our chairman Nick Rumney recently had the opportunity to see the huge impact this has on people’s lives when he visited India to support efforts by CooperVision, Optometry Giving Sight and India Vision Institute (IVI) in ensuring underprivileged children receive eye examinations and free spectacles as needed.

“Some 25% of the world’s blind population live in India so this work is vital to reduce these alarming numbers and if spectacles are needed then these can also significantly improve quality of life for these children,” he added.

Visual impairment also becomes more common when people are aged 50 or older and Herefordshire very much follows the national trend by having increasing numbers of people in this age group residing in the county.

Nick adds: “This means more people here will be at risk of developing age-related visual impairment so I would particularly urge everyone aged 50 or over to ensure they have regular eye examinations as they are the most effective way to ensure any issues can be diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible time.

“Anyone who also has to wear spectacles or contact lenses should also return for eye examinations as often as recommended and, if you find that you are having problems with your sight between examinations, then you should also call to make an appointment,” he added.

An updated version of the IAPB Vision Atlas will be launched on World Sight Day. 

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