Sight simulator highlights importance of eye tests

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Civic dignitaries checked out an interactive sight simulator which enables people to see how eye conditions can affect their vision.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield, Councillor Maureen Davenport and Liz Archer, and MP Toby Perkins were among those who visited an Eye Pod in the town centre.

The Eye Pod has two cameras on top of it which link to screens inside where the public can view their surroundings with symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. All four conditions are causes of preventable sight loss.

Experts were on hand to offer sight loss advice and free eye test vouchers.

The Eye Pod’s tour of the UK comes in light of research published by Royal National Institute for the Blind and Specsavers which shows that one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable.

The national results show that 250 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day. Women are at greater risk than men, with nearly one in four women set to develop sight loss in their lifetime compared with one in eight men.

Nearly six million residents of the UK currently live with sight-threatening conditions yet a quarter of people are not having an eye test every two years as recommended by the College of Optometrists. The extent of the problem means that nearly every family in Britain is touched by sight problems in some way.

Vicki Bainbridge, Specsavers Chesterfield store director, said: “At least half of all sight loss cases are avoidable and a simple eye test can unearth a number of serious health conditions. Our mission with RNIB is to transform the nation’s eye health through awareness and action; this is an enormous challenge but we must rise to it together and take action now.”

Martin Shervington, RNIB fundraiser says: “Almost 80% of people living with sight loss are over the age of 64, so with an ageing population that is expected to retire later, more of our national workforce will be impacted by sight loss.”

Specsavers began a partnership with RNIB in 2016 with the mission of communicating the importance of regular eye examinations.