South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are joining forces with leading eye care organisations including Barnsley opticians, equipment experts, and sight loss charities in an event to raise awareness of national eye health week (19 – 23 September).
The Barnsley sensory impairment service will be running their own information stall in Barnsley Town Centre on Cheapside on Thursday 22 September, 10am – 2pm, where local people are invited to learn more about the importance of eye health and where they can go for help for visual impairment or other eye related concerns.
People will have the opportunity to take part in a vision loss awareness experience using simulation spectacles which gives an insight into how it could feel like to have a range of different eye conditions.
The Trust’s sensory impairment service will also be able to advise local people on how best to look after their eyes, including why they should have their eyes tested regularly and show those who do have visual impairment how they can still remain as independent as possible.
The event in Barnsley further enhances the recent good work by the service in helping to improve the lives of local people. They’ve recently been working with Barnsley Town Centre regeneration staff to help make the new planned town centre accessible for people with sight loss and they’ve also worked on national campaigns with Guide Dogs and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).
Changes to local GP surgeries are also a result of collaborative work by the sensory impairment service as they look to improve the accessibility for those suffering from sight loss. This includes training staff and making sure leaflets are printed in numerous size fonts to cater for different severities of sight impairment.
Moira Fuller, a senior rehabilitation officer with the service said, “Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don’t know the best way to look after our eyes. Currently 1.8m people in the UK are living with sight loss but for 53% of these, a simple sight test and new spectacles could help.”
Common eye conditions can be diagnosed by having regular eye tests, which could be available free of charge; helping those who worry for both their eyesight and finances. Regular eye tests can also allow for potential problems to be spotted early, meaning there’s a better chance of effective treatment.
Early symptoms of cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration and even diabetes can all be noticed in eye tests.
“Our service can offer advice, support and training to people, as well as lots of information leaflets. We’ll be there with a range of eye professionals to talk to at the event, so come along and find out more.”