Sheffield residents urged to take up free eye test

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National optical retailer Vision Express is launching a new campaign offering free eye tests after figures revealed almost 20,000 people in the Sheffield area are at risk of macular disease.

The Vision Van – a high-tech mobile testing unit – will roll into Sheffield’s Fargate on Thursday 30 June 2016 to raise awareness of the condition for Macular Week (June 27 – July 3 2016).

The city will be one of five areas targeted in the initiative as research shows that in Sheffield alone, more than 9,000 people aged over 50 have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a further 19,555 others have risk factors of the disease (11 per cent of the local population).

AMD is a painless eye condition that affects central vision and has no cure. It is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world. Around 600,000 people in the UK have vision loss as a result of AMD. Nearly 200 new cases are detected every day, with the number of people affected forecast to increase due to more eye disease in an ageing population which requires long term care.

UV damage is one of the risk factors for macular disease and simple steps such as wearing sun protection can help to avoid harm.

Racheal Inman, Vision Express Sheffield store manager said: “We want people to take positive steps to safeguard their sight for a lifetime. Research shows that 37% put off having an eye test due to cost concern, so by offering this essential health check for free, Vision Express is setting aside the affordability issue to help those that need it most in Sheffield.

“Whatever condition may be detected, the earlier it is identified, the sooner it can be managed and the better potential outcome.”

The Vision Van will be open for testing from 10am to 5pm on Fargate. Representatives from Vision Express and the Macular Society will be on hand to advise on how to spot the signs and symptoms of macular conditions. Those unable to visit can still benefit from a free eye test by downloading an online voucher from the Vision Express website: www.visionexpress.com/macular-week-2016/

Available for redemption from Monday (27 June), the voucher can be used at any of the retailer’s stores until the end of August.