Concerns over number of people in East Midlands not going for regular eye tests

Financial pressures are having an impact on eye health across the East Midlands, according to new figures.

New YouGov research to mark National Eye Health Week reveals that millions of adults across Britain do not go for regular sight tests – at least once every two years – because they believe they cannot afford to.

In the East Midlands this figure rises to 17 per cent and the organisers of National Eye Health Week are keen to ensure people across the region recognise how a sight test is an important health check.

As the UK economy continues to stagnate, people in the East Midlands are cutting cash corners and avoiding more than just treats and luxuries. More than 40 per cent of the population across the East Midlands is currently risking their sight and their health by not going for regular sight tests. Although only one in ten people do not recognise any of the health conditions that can be diagnosed through a sight test, this knowledge is not resulting in people visiting their optometrist.

David Scott-Ralphs, Chairman of National Eye Health Week, says: “This is a massive public health issue. Many people across the East Midlands do understand the importance of a sight test, but there is great concern that they are still avoiding having one, often citing cost grounds. Many people qualify for a free NHS sight test and may also qualify for help with the cost of spectacles or contact lenses.”

Sight tests are of vital importance to vision and general health, so even people who don’t wear glasses still need to have regular tests. Many eye conditions such as glaucoma do not have symptoms in their early stages and early detection is vital as once lost, vision cannot be restored. Equally, a sight test does not just assess vision; it also may indicate signs of other potentially life threatening conditions, such as high blood pressure.

A sight test costs in the region of just £20 but shop around because prices vary and there are often promotional offers.

National Eye Health Week is this week. A nationwide campaign, it aims to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests. The organisers are encouraging everyone to think about why vision matters to them, and say ‘I care about eye care’