Manx Blind Welfare Society and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have joined forces to step up the fight to eliminate avoidable sight loss by stressing the critical importance of regular eye tests.
The Society and RNIB are highlighting that regular visits to an optometrist can identify problems early, allowing intervention and treatment which could save your sight.
Adverts and a poster campaign, based on the familiar Snellen Chart-style eye test, have been launched to increase awareness of how important regular check-ups are.
The Society looks after the interests of more than 600 people with serious sight loss across the Isle of Man while RNIB has an eye clinic liaison officer and provides rehabilitation and low vision services in the Island. Together they hope to take the message Island-wide.
Manx Blind Welfare Society Chief Executive Ian Cooil said: ‘We are delighted to be working with RNIB on raising awareness of this important message.
‘Both organisations are here to provide free advice, support and services to people with visual impairment in the Isle of Man, but it is also our responsibility to do all we can to help people preserve their sight and keep their eyes healthy.
‘The loss of eyesight can be devastating and it is tragic that there are many people in this life-changing position after suffering avoidable or treatable diseases and conditions because they were not detected early enough.
‘This campaign isn’t about our work or raising money; the aim is solely to highlight how critically important regular eye tests are, and we really hope that people get the message.’
He added: ‘It is impossible to overstate the importance of regular eye tests. They are critical not only in terms of establishing if people need assistive eyewear but also in terms of our general wellbeing. Optometrists can often identify early indicators of eye diseases, allowing swift intervention and treatment where possible, as well as, on occasion, picking up on a wider range of health issues, notably diabetes.
‘A simple eye test now may prevent you, your children, friends and loved ones from having to deal with challenging difficulties that could be simply managed right now by booking an appointment at one of the many professional optometrists that operate in the Island.
‘If you or someone you care about hasn’t had an eye test in the last two years, or if there is a family history of eye conditions, please make that appointment now.’
During the campaign the Society and RNIB will also be highlighting the importance of eye tests for children, to identify issues which could be impacting on education or point to conditions which could be treated.
The campaign will also talk about simple steps you can take to look after your eyes, including not smoking, regular exercise and a balanced diet.
The campaign poster can be downloaded for free from www.mbws.org.im, where you can also find out more about protecting your eyesight or the work of MBWS.