Vision Express

Over 90% of Vision Van visitors found to be neglecting their eye health as initiative hits Cardiff for Macular Week 2018

Press Release   •   Jul 03, 2018 10:02 BST

Vision Express urges residents to prioritise regular eye tests

Cardiff residents are being warned of the dangers of neglecting their eye health after over 90% of visitors to the Vision Express Vision Van were found to be overdue an eye test – with almost a fifth revealing they had never had the essential health check.

The Vision Van stopped off on Working Street on 26 June for two days, as part of a UK tour to mark Macular Week 2018 (25 June – 1 July), following research showing almost 2,300 people are suffering from the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the city.

A worrying 94% of those who took advantage of the national optical retailer’s free eye test offer aboard the Van were found to be overdue an eye test and over a third (36%) admitted to not having had an eye examination since passing their driving test. Almost half (47%) were revealed to be walking around with outdated prescriptions and two residents were referred for further medical attention, with one local presenting signs of issues developing in their retina.

Vinney Sawney, 41, who visited the van on Tuesday, admitted he hadn’t had an eye test in over 25 years and had never heard of AMD: “After visiting the Vision Van I now know I should be having an eye test every two years. I think the Van is a great idea for people like me who can’t always make it to an appointment. It’s perfect because you can simply pop in and out and know you’re looking after your sight.”

Another visitor to the van, 23-year-old Oliver Schertkeger, revealed he had not had his eyes tested for six years. "I’ve always been the person who would put off having an eye test," he explains. “After visiting the Vision Van, I will definitely be having regular eye tests. I had no idea a simple sight check could spot diseases, such as AMD. I hadn’t actually heard of the disease before chatting with the Vision Express team, so it’s really important for people to be aware." During his visit, Oliver was encouraged to share his new-found knowledge of AMD with his family, in particular those aged over 60.

 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 Cardiff alone, over 10,000 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, commented: “Our Vision Van continues to receive a fantastic response from the public but it’s very concerning that we are still seeing a worrying neglect for eye health, with such a high percentage of visitors to the van admitting to being overdue an eye test. Worse still, almost a fifth of visitors told us they had never had an eye test.

“The reaction to our visit to Cardiff demonstrated that there’s a real need for initiatives like this. 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