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Insert date Help banish the blues with a free eye exam Local optician puts OAPs on eye exam alert One in three OAPs missing out on regular sight checks say the quality of their vision makes them feel depressed and vulnerable according to a shocking new report1 launched to mark National Eye Week (10 – 16 December 2007). Local optician, <<insert name>> has teamed up with national sight charity the Eyecare Trust2, to warn older residents of <<insert name of town or city>> about the frightening consequences of neglecting their eye care. The ‘Sight after Sixty’ report reveals how more than four million over 60s are missing out on vital NHS sight tests every year – despite more than a quarter of those surveyed saying the quality of their vision restricts their daily routine and more than half are prevented from reading books and magazines. Fear of cost seems to be a major barrier to many older people caring for their eyes as 30 per cent of those surveyed believed it would “cost a lot of money” even though eye examinations for the over 60s have been free on the NHS since April 1999. Vouchers to assist with the cost of spectacles or contact lenses are also available for people on low incomes and those requiring complex lenses. << insert name>> of <<insert name of practice>> comments: “Poor vision is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Regular eye examinations are vital to ensure the early detection of a range of age-related eye conditions that can often be easily managed. Eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, a new prescription and low vision aids are all simple ways in which you can help maintain and preserve your vision.” Iain Anderson, Chairman of the Eyecare Trust continues: “Good vision is so often a key factor in the elderly maintaining their dignity and independence. Poor uncorrected vision can have a significant impact on our physical and social well-being. It’s unforgivable that elderly people are left feeling depressed and vulnerable by the quality of their vision when there is so much that can be done to help us all see clearly.” The report also found that those people who failed to have regular eye examinations had a low awareness of age-related eye conditions and believed they were not at risk of sight loss. Only half of those surveyed had heard of age-related macular degeneration – the biggest cause of blindness in the UK and just one on 10 were aware of presbyopia – a condition that reduces our ability to focus and affects more than 25 million people across the UK. The actress and author, Nanette Newman, has lent her support to the National Eye Week campaign to highlight the benefits of good eye care for the over 60s. more... 2/2. Commenting on the campaign Nanette said: “I feel passionate about the important role that good eye care plays in helping the elderly maintain their dignity and independence. The shocking results of the Sight after Sixty survey, commissioned to mark National Eye Week, demonstrate all too clearly how neglectingyour sight can have a significant impact on your quality of life. I’ve seen the benefits of caring for my own eyes and am proud to support the Sight after Sixty campaign - I hope you will too!” Further research3 has shown how 75 per cent of older people who suffer a fall as a result of poor vision had a visual impairment that was easily correctable. So don’t be a fall guy - if you’re aged 60 or over make sure you have regular eye examinations on the NHS. For further information about eye care for the over 60s and the Sight after 60 - it’s your right campaign log on to wwww.nationaleyeweek.co.uk. - ends For more information contact: <insert name> on <insert telephone number> or the Eyecare Trust on 01225 423394 Notes to editors: • Photography available on request. • People aged 60 - 69 years of age are entitled to a free eye examination paid for by the NHS once every two years and people aged 70 plus are entitled to an annual check-up. In Scotland everyone is entitled to free eye examinations on the NHS - regardless of age. • See below for facts about common age related eye examinations. More information is available from the Eyecare Trust press office. Glaucoma - An estimated half a million people suffer from glaucoma in England and Wales alone. Age-related cataracts - Twenty six per cent of all cases of sight loss in people aged 75 and over is due to untreated cataracts despite the fact that vision can be restored with a routine surgical procedure. Age-related macular degeneration - By the time you reach the age of 75 you have a one in three chance of suffering from the condition. Presbyopia - Twenty five million people in the UK are affected by presbyopia. Diabetic retinopathy - According to Diabetes UK more than half a million people with diabetes suffer from diabetic retinopathy. Keraconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) - Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye syndrome is the most common cause of eye irritation in people aged 65 and over. 1. The Sight after 60 survey was conducted by Shape the Future in October 2007. 2. The Eyecare Trust is a registered charity that exists to promote awareness of ocular health and the importance of good eye care. Jack CI, et al. Gerentology. 3.