This National Eye Health Week, assembly member, Dawn Bowden, visited the Merthyr Tydfil team to help raise awareness of the importance of eye care for older people in employment.

Ageing workforce

Brian Borland, head of Enhanced Optical Services and store director at Specsavers Merthyr Tydfil, welcomed Ms Bowden to the high street store for a tour of its facilities and provided her with a routine eye test.

During the tour, they discussed advancements in eye care, including the £4m investment by the Welsh Government to help transform eye care services in Wales, and the impact Specsavers Merthyr Tydfil is having on preventing sight loss in Ms Bowden’s constituency.

Ms Bowden says: ‘I was delighted to visit Specsavers during National Eye Health Week and see how important it is for all people, particularly our ageing workforce, to have their eyes tested regularly. We often take our eyesight for granted and it’s common to hear people excuse their poor sight because of their age when in reality there is specialist clinical help readily available in optometrists.’

Official figures show that there are 700 people over the age of 65 working in Merthyr Tydfil. However, 1 in 4 of them (175 people) are not getting their eyes tested regularly meaning that conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts may not be detected early, which could impact their day to day lives.

Specsavers Merthyr Tydfil has been located on High Street for more than 20 years and delivers thousands of sight tests to customers each year, the majority of which are NHS funded, and provides a wide range of NHS enhanced optical services as part of the Wales Eye Care Services (WECS) scheme.

Influencing change

During the tour, Ms Bowden learned about the specialist clinics the opticians provides, as well as the training opportunities offered to its staff to develop their optical, audiology and retail careers.

‘When high-profile members of the community visit, it helps us emphasise the importance of regular eye tests, especially for those 65 and older who are still working and demonstrates the primary provision of care our team provides,’ says Mr Borland.

‘It is fantastic to have the opportunity to see politicians such as Dawn, who can help influence change in Merthyr Tydfil, show an interest in the eye health care of our community.’

This National Eye Health Week (24 – 30 September), Specsavers Merthyr Tydfil is urging anyone who has not had a sight test in two years, especially those 65 or older and in employment, to make an appointment for an eye test.

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