"I attended the Eye Health Alliance Reception 2009 at the House of Commons this week to learn more about the importance of eye health and regular sight tests."
The Eye Health Alliance, which brings together the professional and representative optical bodies and eye care charities, hosted the reception with Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee to highlight the importance of regular sight tests, and to raise awareness of the UK Vision Strategy which sets out a framework for improving eye health services over the next five years.
"Sight loss in the UK is set to double over the next 25 years unless decisive action is taken. There are over 2 million people in the UK at risk of losing their sight and regular eye tests are the simplest way to reduce the high numbers of people needlessly losing their sight from treatable eye conditions." said Sir George
The results of a recent study indicate that partial sight and blindness places a large economic cost on the UK, totalling £22 billion in 2008, much of which could have been avoided with an increase in take-up of regular sight tests .
“Sight loss can have devastating effects on many peoples’ lives and it is clear that regular eye tests are very important in order to prevent it. I encourage all of my constituents to look after their eyesight and not wait until they have problems with their vision before visiting a local optician.”
Heather Marshall, spokesperson for the Eye Health Alliance said:
“Eye tests are not just about checking to see if you need to wear glasses. They are important to pick up the early signs of eye disease, which if left untreated could lead to blindness. We are calling on the Government to ensure preventative eye health services are given the priority they deserve, to reduce the financial burden on health and social care services in the future ”
Eye tests are readily available on the high street. Many groups of people in England and Wales are entitled to a free NHS Sight Test such as all children under the age of 16, those aged 60 and over and those on low incomes . Experts recommend everyone should have an eye test every two years.