Improving Eye Health In Wales
“About 100,000 people live with sight loss in Wales alone”
Every day in Wales, three people start losing their sight. Two out of three people who are registered blind or partially sighted are unemployed and more than 75% of older people with sight loss live in poverty.
This is staggering. The worst part is that over half of these cases are avoidable.
“Wales has established a strong reputation in the development and provision of eye health care. Yet, even today, estimates suggest that half of cases of visual impairment could have been prevented.”
While NHS Wales spend £119.2m every year on eye health, the indirect cost of sight loss is estimated at £250m.
It’s clear that something needs to change.
“With cases of sight loss set to increase by 22% by 2020 and double by 2050 due to the ageing population, we have to act now.”
The Eye Care Delivery Plan
The Welsh government’s Eye Care Delivery Plan outlines the key actions that need to be taken to improve the eye health of children and adults across Wales. It identifies those vulnerable to sight loss and other eye health issues, and offers targeted
support and guidance.
The plan has introduced measures such as quality assurance for the screening of schoolchildren, annual sight tests for children and better education on the risks of bad eye health.
It is vital to ensure that we have services in place in Wales to treat eyesight problems, but also to prevent them before they get the chance to take hold. Regular eye tests will ensure that eye health problems will be detected early.
The Eye Care Delivery Plan offers support to those who were reached too late, with pre-existing visual impairments. People will be made aware of the services, primary care and hospitals available in their local area.
“Whether a person has an eye emergency or is at high risk of a blinding eye disease, a local optician’s practice will now have specially accredited optometrists to deal with the problem quickly and appropriately.”
This scheme saves several lives, many patients’ sight and saves hours and hours of patients’ time and hospital emergency room time. According to Ceri Jackson, director of RNIB Cymru, this publication marks “a significant step towards preventing avoidable sight loss and improving eye health services in Wales.”
Eye health has to be a priority in Wales. Prevention is the best cure As Dr Nik Sheen, of Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, said: “Optometrists in the community have an important role in detecting eye conditions that can cause preventable sight loss.”
At Pritchard Cowburn, we take that role in the West Wales community very seriously. We offer comprehensive eye health and sight testing so that we can detect sight problems early on.
Come and see us today, and start taking your eye health seriously.