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MertonVision supporting local residents with sight loss team up with Specsavers Wimbledon to raise awareness
CEO of Merton Vision, Kevin Gregory visited Specsavers Wimbledon recently as part of his mission to inform and educate local optical providers about the services provided by the charity and to raise awareness of National Eye Health Week (19th – 25th September) and World Sight Day (13th October) both of which highlight the importance of sight tests, relative to general health and wellbeing.
MertonVision are a local sight loss charity who assist those patients of all ages, including children, who have uncorrected sight such as macular degeneration. Based in Colliers Wood they are the only sight loss charity across the Borough of Merton. With a focus on delivering the best possible services to blind and partially sighted people, the charity provides tools and support so that people with sight loss are able to live life as independently as possible.
A low vision assessment clinic for those people with sight impairment, who may have been referred by their local GP or optician, is available to residents across the London Borough of Merton. A low vision assessment is carried out, free of charge at regular monthly clinics. Following this a Rehabilitation Worker will visit the patient at home and work with them to design a bespoke low vision living area, which includes a review of their lighting. Magnifiers may also be recommended to assist with reading, and guidance is offered with regard to watching television and carrying out day to day activities.
This year to raise awareness around the importance of sight tests, Specsavers commissioned a survey that revealed some worrying misconceptions around glaucoma (a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve) – a disease that is needlessly stealing sight. The study revealed that 49% of people in London don’t worry about glaucoma because they think ‘it’s rare’ while 24% wrongly believe it can be ‘cured’.
Alarmingly, almost a quarter of people across London (23%) still don’t know how often they should visit their optician for a routine check-up, with 26% being unable to remember their last eye examination, or worse still, have never had one.
According to the RNIB , 1,670 people in the London Borough of Merton are estimated to be living with glaucoma. This is expected to rise to 1,780 by 2025, and 1,940 by 2030. This represents an increase of 16% by the end of the decade.
Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ clinical services director, described the findings as deeply concerning. He says: ‘Glaucoma can be symptomless which is why only half of those affected even know they have the condition. While it cannot simply be cured or reversed, early treatment can be particularly effective in slowing or preventing vision loss so it is crucial that it is detected at the first possibly opportunity. That’s why it is critical that we educate the public on glaucoma and the importance of regular eye examinations.’
A staggering 50% of all sight loss is avoidable and Specsavers believes nobody should have to live with sight loss that could be avoided.
That’s one of the key messages in its latest report, released this month, entitled The State of the UK’s Eye Health 2022.
It paints a stark picture, highlighting the link between sight loss and an increase in risk of loneliness, isolation and other health conditions such as clinical depression, diabetes, dementia and stroke.
It also looks at the huge economic cost of sight loss and blindness. In 2019 this was an estimated £36billion and, due to the pandemic, this is expected to rise by a further £2.5billion by 2024 .
Expert contributors to the report include Glaucoma UK as well as Visionary, the umbrella body for local sight charities, which helped track trends in sight impairment registrations.
Kevin Gregory, CEO at Merton Vision, said: ‘Since the pandemic, local sight loss charities like ours across the UK, have seen a significant increase in people seeking support.
Many more people are registering as blind or partially sighted or having problems with their vision. Living with sight loss causes challenges and difficulties regardless of circumstances. However, knowing that sight may have been saved, can cause additional stress and anxiety.
That is why it is so important that we all keep fighting for early intervention and care – to give everyone the best possible chance of retaining sight for as long as possible and ensuring if their vision does deteriorate or is lost, then care and support is available.’
Mr Gregory continued; ‘The ultimate aim of our team is to enhance the lives of everyone with uncorrected sight and improve their quality of life at home.’
Specsavers Wimbledon Optometrist Director, Richard Sandiford said; ‘We are delighted to be working with Kevin and MertonVision. It is our goal to ensure that all of our customers and patients receive the very best clinical and customer service. Being aware of the services locally for those people who have uncorrected vision, is incredibly valuable. The charity is truly assisting with enhancing people’s day to day lives.’
For more information about the State of the UK’s Eye Health Report visit specsavers.co.uk/reports/state-of-the-uks-eye-health-2022.
To discuss any eye or hear care queries, you can call the team at Specsavers Wimbledon on 020 8131 9764 or you can book an appointment online.
(Left to right) Kevin Gregory, CEO at MertonVision & Specsavers Wimbledon Optometrist Director, Richard Sandiford
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Issued by tigerbond on behalf of Specsavers
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