The South West Wales AM is supporting new aims set out by the Wales Vision Strategy group to deliver positive change for blind and partially sighted people in Wales, including those at risk of sight loss, by 2020. The group is a collaboration between charities, public sector organisations, businesses and blind and partially sighted people.
Dai Lloyd AM, who is also the Chair of the Cross Party Group on Vision, helped launch the new Wales Vision Strategy’s new priorities at the National Assembly for Wales on 22 November.
The Wales Vision Strategy’s new priorities are:
• To improve the nation’s eye health and end avoidable sight loss.
• To improve support across social care services.
• To improve awareness of sight loss and create an inclusive society for all blind and partially sighted people.
At the event Dai Lloyd AM also took the opportunity to wear a pair of RNIB Cymru’s ‘sim specs’, glasses which simulate various eye conditions.
Dai Lloyd AM said: “Our level of vision has a huge impact on our lives. Blind and partially sighted people each face their own set of challenges every day. Feelings of isolation are unacceptably high, and only one in four blind or partially sighted people of working age has a job.
“Many people also face the prospect of losing their sight unnecessarily because of delayed and cancelled eye appointments.
“I’m passionate that the Wales Vision Strategy sets out ambitious aims to help tackle the barriers that people with sight loss face.
“I would urge all of my fellow Assembly Members to engage with the Wales Vision Strategy so that nobody within their area loses their sight from a treatable eye condition, and that we do all that we can to support people with sight loss.”
There are an estimated 107,000 people living with sight loss in Wales according to RNIB Cymru, a member of the Wales Vision Strategy group.
RNIB Cymru’s Director Ansley Workman said: “We want to thank Dai Lloyd AM for sponsoring the launch of the Wales Vision Strategy’s new priorities and for all of his support.
“Every day in Wales four people start to lose their sight. But, for many people, sight can and should be saved with the right information, care and support.
“For those who do have sight loss we want to make sure that they live in a world that is accessible to them. Whether it’s being able to get around their local community safely or receiving vital health information in the right format. We’re confident that by working together we can achieve our aims and make positive changes happen.”
The Wales Vision Strategy aligns to the Vision UK Strategy, part of the global initiative known as ‘VISION 2020: the Right to Sight’ a joint programme between the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. VISION 2020 was launched in 1999 with the twin aims of eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and preventing the projected doubling of avoidable sight loss between 1990 and 2020.
Vision 2020 seeks to promote “A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential.”