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Growing concern over eye health in Gloucester as 94% of Vision Van visitors are found to be overdue an eye test

Press Release   •   Jul 03, 2018 11:00 BST

Richard Amson on board the Vision Van in Gloucester

Vision Express urges residents to prioritise regular eye tests

Vision Express is urging Gloucester residents to take better care of their eye health, after over 90% of visitors to its Vision Van were revealed to be overdue an eye examination.

Members of the public were invited to take advantage of the national optical retailer’s free eye test offer on board its Vision Van, as it opened its doors in Kings Square on 28 June, as part of a UK tour to mark Macular Week 2018 (25 June – 1 July) – following research revealing over 800 people are suffering from the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the city.

The health initiative revealed out of those tested on board the Van, 94% were overdue an eye test, with more than one in 10 (12%) admitting to never having had an eye examination. Over half (53%) were revealed to be walking around with outdated prescriptions and 6% were referred for further medical attention.

Richard Amson, a 48-year-old local, confessed he hadn’t had his eyes tested for 16 years. "I’ve never been too bothered about having regular eye tests, but I now know, from visiting the Vision Van, that they recommend having one every two years,” he commented. “The Vision Van is convenient and there’s a lot of information available. I didn’t know what AMD was before today, but I now know that an eye test can help detect it.”

Christopher Breed, 44, was also unaware of AMD, and said: “After visiting the Vision Van I now know what the symptoms are and what to keep an eye out for. My last eye test was about four years ago, but I realise now you should have them regularly. Knowing what I know now about macular degeneration, it has encouraged me to have regular eye tests.

“The Vision Van is great and everyone on board is really friendly and helpful. I would encourage people to go ahead and get an eye test done. It doesn’t take very long, and you need your sight at the end of the day, so go ahead and get them checked.”

Representatives from the Macular Society, a Vision Express charity partner, have joined the Vision Van team this Macular Week, to help the national optician put the spotlight on AMD, the most common form of sight loss in the UK. AMD is increasingly common in those aged over 60, and it currently affects more than 600,000 people in the UK with another 200 new cases detected every day. In Gloucester alone, almost 4,000 have a heightened risk of developing AMD, due to drusen – yellow deposits under the retina.

AMD affects the macular, near the centre of the retina, and causes loss of central vision. For a minority of people drugs injected into their eyes can limit the damage caused by AMD, but they are not a cure and the condition is largely untreatable.

Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO, added: “It’s been great to have our charity partner, the Macular Society join us during our Vision Van tour and to help us raise further awareness of macular degeneration. The reaction in Gloucester demonstrated that there’s a real need for initiatives like this, especially with such a high percentage found to be neglecting their eye health. Most people we spoke to were not aware of AMD or of the fact an eye test can help detect so many health conditions, but, thanks to our team, they walked away from their Vision Van visit with more knowledge and awareness.”

About Vision Express

Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision, the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.

With almost 600 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

With around 6,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:

  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital
  • Brake

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