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GP referral as Norwich residents receive free blood pressure checks to highlight stroke risk

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2016 11:13 GMT

A Norwich resident has been advised to visit their GP, after an event offering free blood pressure checks at Vision Express this week revealed a worryingly-high reading.

Held in partnership with the Stroke Association, the ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ event on Tuesday 9 February raised awareness of stroke and its impact on vision.

There are over 3,500 stroke survivors in the Norwich NHS catchment, which represents 1.7% of the local population.

During the event at the Vision Express store in Castle Mall, husband and wife Stroke Association volunteers Rik and Vik Thornton, told residents about the warning signs of stroke, and how simple lifestyle changes can reduce blood pressure to a normal level.

Up to 60% of people will experience visual problems following a stroke, yet one in three are unaware that sight loss could be a problem or that treatment and support is available. Via an eye test, Vision Express optometrists can identify indicators of increased blood pressure, which is the single biggest risk factor for stroke.

Dr Dale Webb, Director of Research and Information at the Stroke Association, said: “We all value our sight; it’s the sense most people fear losing more than any other. Improved vision care for stroke survivors would help patients to regain mobility and independence, return to the workplace and make their best recovery possible following a stroke.”

Katie Lord, team leader at Vision Express Norwich added: “Rik and Vik from the Stroke Association made the event a real success. They have a great deal of knowledge surrounding stroke and this was a good opportunity for them to pass valuable information on to members of the public.

“Early symptoms associated with stroke can include loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes, and many people don’t realise the breadth of health conditions we can be identify through an eye test. It is vital to have a routine exam at least every two years and to see an optometrist straight away if you experience any issues with your sight.”

Did you know…?

  • There are around 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK
  • By the age of 75, one in five women and one in six men will have a stroke
  • Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined a year
  • High blood pressure is a contributing factor to 54% of strokes
  • It is estimated there could be up to 6.8 million people in the UK with undiagnosed high blood pressure

For more information on the Know Your Blood pressure events visit

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO) with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test visit the Vision Express Norwich, Castle Mall, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3DD, call 01603 667733 or visit:

Photo caption: Stroke Assocation volunteer Rik Thornton checks the blood pressure of Katie Adams

About Vision Express

Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating across 43 countries, spanning over 5,800 stores and online.

With more than 390 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.

Vision Express is considered one of the leading and most trusted opticians in the UK and Ireland, with its European offering supported through sister eye care brands Grand Optical, Solaris and Generale D'Optique.

With around 4,000 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:

  • Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital.

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