Eye health and sight loss professionals are holding events up and down the country for National Eye Health Week (NEHW).
The seventh annual week takes place from the 19 – 25 September 2016. Eye care charities, organisations and professionals are joining forces to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for everyone.
RNIB has already launched a report with Specsavers that revealed sight loss is costing the UK economy £28 billion annually.
Among the many events happening across the country, Open Sight, an organisation for partially sighted people is hosting a free seminar on eye health and sight loss prevention and Guide Dogs is holding an open day in Eastbourne.
The week has also highlighted that millions of people are risking their eyesight by not getting regular eye tests. A report from NEHW and Specsavers revealed that almost 14 million people in the UK are not having an eye test at least every two years, despite 55 per cent of respondents saying deteriorating vision is their biggest worry about getting older.
The Generation Eye report also investigated the value people place on their vision and depth of knowledge about eye health. Based on a survey of 2000 adults, three quarters of people (75 per cent) had suffered poor eye health in the last 12 months and more than one in five (22 per cent) said this had restricted or impaired their daily life. This is despite studies showing that nearly half of all cases of sight loss are preventable.
David Cartwright, Chair of National Eye Health Week, says: ‘What our study found was that millions are totally in the dark when it comes to eyes and eye health.
‘National Eye Health Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all. An eye test at opticians is quick and easy, and for a lot of people, including children and over-60s, is free on the NHS.
"Poor eye health is affecting every aspect of daily life. This National Eye Health Week, our message is clear: people across the UK, of all backgrounds, age groups and genders need to recognise that our vision is both precious and fragile, and thus the risks to it need to be understood, accepted and addressed."
Despite the number of people not getting regular tests, the report found deteriorating vision was people’s number one fear of getting old – ahead of illness (50 per cent) and losing their hearing (32 per cent).