Seeing in the New Year 2017

  • Welcome 2017 by #seeinginthenewyear
  • Half of sight loss is preventable
  • A sight test could save your life

Grahame Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of sight loss charity Devon in Sight said, “Sight loss can creep up on you unawares – you don’t notice anything is wrong until it is too late. But early detection and treatment can stop a number of causes of sight loss in their tracks. That’s why it’s so important that everyone, not just the young, the elderly, or those in ‘at-risk’ groups, has regular sight tests at their local optician. That’s why for the third year Devon in Sight is launching #seeinginthenewyear – to raise awareness of the importance of sight tests in preventing visual impairment.”

Around 30,000 people in Devon are living with sight loss right now. By 2020, as the county’s population grows older, that number is estimated to rise to more than 36,000.

But half of all sight loss is preventable. That means that today, 15,000 people in Devon are living with sight loss that could have been avoided!

Figures compiled by the RNIB charity show that the cost of sight loss to the NHS in Devon is more than £35 million a year. Furthermore, the indirect cost of sight loss to the county as a whole is something like £84 million annually. If the number of people living with visual impairment goes up, so will those costs – perhaps to £40 million and £100 million within a few years.

Think how much pain and suffering – and money – could be saved if fewer, not more, people endure sight loss in the future.

Opticians recommend people should have a sight test at least once every two years. So if you didn’t get your sight checked in 2016, please make a New Year’s Resolution to get your eyes tested.

It’s not just your optical health that can benefit from regular check-ups. A whole range of other conditions and illnesses can be picked up by opticians. High blood pressure, diabetes and even some forms of cancer and other diseases can be spotted first at a sight test.

So please, if you didn’t get a sight test in 2016, please make sure you get one in 2017. It could save more than your sight.

• For more information about NHS sight tests, and where your nearest optician is, please see the NHS website.