There are an estimated 4,780 people living with sight loss in the Mid and East Antrim area. Currently across Northern Ireland, there are 57,500 people with sight loss, with this figure expected to rise by over 25 per cent by 2032.
RNIB, alongside the NI Eyecare Network (RNIB Northern Ireland, the Department of Health, the Public Health Agency and Optometry NI), wants to highlight that one in five people will experience sight loss in their lives, but that over 50 per cent of sight loss is avoidable.
A routine eye examination can often pick up the first signs of a condition with the potential to cause sight loss even before there are any symptoms. Early detection and intervention could save your sight, or keep your condition under control.
This Thursday 2 February, Health Department Permanent Secretary Peter May, was glad to attend the #EyeCareWeCare awareness roadshow at Ballymena’s Fairhill Shopping Centre.
Health Department Permanent Secretary, Peter May said: “I am pleased to be here today and help raise awareness of the importance of prevention and early intervention when it comes to our sight.
“I understand that sight is the sense people say they fear losing the most, yet an appointment with their optometrist is the one they are most likely to miss, cancel or avoid.
“An eye test could save your sight, or detect other underlying illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. I urge everyone to follow advice and attend routine eye appointments at least once every two years - even if there is no change in your vision.”
Robert Shilliday, RNIB Northern Ireland’s Country Director and Co-Chair of the NI Eyecare Network, said: “We want to ensure we are reaching as much of the population as possible with these eye health messages.
“The #EyeCareWeCare campaign also seeks to connect the 57,500 blind and partially sighted people currently living in Northern Ireland with all the available forms of services and support across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors.
“I want to thank the Permanent Secretary and colleagues from the NI Eyecare Network, including those from the Northern Trust Sensory Support team, and members of the Ballee VIP club for their support with this campaign today.”
For further information on eye health and support services, visit rnib.org.uk/eyehealth
Notes to editors
Further Interviews are available. Spokespersons include:
- Robert Shilliday, RNIB Northern Ireland’s Country Director
- Raymond Curran, Head of Ophthalmic Services, Strategic Planning and Performance Group, Department of Health NI
- Dr Jackie McCall, Consultant in Public Health at the Public Health Agency
- Jill Campbell, Chair of Optometry NI.
For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Kirsty Campbell on [email protected], or 07702 856 686
The #EyeCareWeCare event in Lisburn’s Bow Street Mall was the second in a series of roadshows to be held across each of the five Health Trust areas from now until March 2023.