For National Eye Health Week, 21 to 27 September 2015, Ceri Jackson, director of RNIB Cymru and Chair of the Wales National Eye Health Week advisory group, offers some top tips on looking after our eyes.
 
“When did you last get your eyes checked? Research shows that more than 1 in 10 of us have never had our eyes tested. Sight is the sense that people fear losing most yet many of us don’t know the best way to look after our eyes. 
 
“Every year for National Eye Health Week, charities, organisations and health professionals from across Wales join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for everyone to have regular sight tests.
 
“Many people think a sight test is just about checking whether your vision needs correcting with glasses or contact lenses. But there are other important reasons to have a sight test.
 
Did you know?
  • Over 50 per cent of sight loss can be avoided.
  • Most people should have their eyes examined by an optometrist every two years – although it could be more often depending on your age and family or medical history – an optometrist will be able to provide advice on this. 
  • A regular sight test can help detect eye conditions before you notice the effect on your vision, and can identify health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • You might be entitled to a free eye test - NHS eye tests are free for people aged 60+ years , for children, for those on income-related benefits and if you have a family history of eye diseases.
  • You can look after your eyes by healthy eating, not smoking and wearing sunglasses in strong sunlight.
“Every day in Wales nearly three people lose their sight but 50% of sight loss is avoidable with early detection and treatment. 
 
“People with sight loss are 90% more likely to have a fall and are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from depression, be unemployed and have problems with everyday life such as going out, cooking and reading.
 
“The most important thing people can do to look after their eyes is to go for regular sight tests. Yet despite sight tests being free for many people, the uptake of sight tests is low. 
 
“This National Eye Health Week I would urge you all to encourage people to go for regular sight tests –and, of course, make sure you go for one yourself.”
 
Ana Palazon, Director Cymru of the Stroke Association, said: “Up to two thirds of people experience some changes to their vision after stroke. Having trouble with your vision can be distressing and it can affect the rest of your recovery.
 
“National Eye Health Week is always a good opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests.
 
“Problems with vision can sometimes be missed, so if you think you or someone you know has visual problems after a stroke, talk to your doctor.”
 
Top five things we want you to do this National Eye Health Week:
  1. Book your eye test today. 
  2. Show your support for NEHW by using the hashtags #EyeWeekWales and #WythnosLlygaid on your social media channels. 
  3. This #EyeWeekWales I pledge to have regular sight tests and enjoy a healthier lifestyle because my #VisionMatters.
  4. Show your support by tying a National Eye Health Week twibbon to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels. 
  5. Register for your free supporter resource pack by sending your name, address and email details to info@visionmatters.org.uk
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