Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Charlie Smith recently visited Specsavers in Peckham to raise awareness for National Eye Health Week (18- 24 September).

A new report published by charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Specsavers shows that half of UK adults have their boiler serviced once a year, over a third renew their mobile phone contract every two years, while 50% of UK adults last had their eyes tested more than a year ago or never.

Suraj Shah, optical director at Specsavers in Peckham was equally shocked by the findings. He invited the local Mayor to the store to discuss the measures he will be taking to put eye health at the top of people’s agenda.

Importance of regular eye tests

Suraj says: ‘The report shows that one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable. Our research also shows that every day, 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK.

'Women, who tend to live longer, are at greater risk than men, with one in four women set to develop sight loss in their lifetime compared with one in eight men.'

Almost six million people in the UK currently live with sight-threatening conditions yet 25% of people are not having an eye test every two years as recommended by the College of Optometrists. 

Suraj says: ‘I know from experience that all of us, from the age of three, should be having our eyes tested regularly because of what an optician can detect. 

'More than 80% of people are not aware that an optician can spot the early signs of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK.’

Maintaining eye health for your wellbeing 

Mayor Smith said, ‘After my eye test with Suraj, it was pointed out to me how important it is to have regular tests. It can show up many abnormalities, tumours behind the eyes or cataracts for instance.

'There are obviously a number of reasons why people avoid having their eyes tested but I would encourage everyone to not to take their eye health for granted.'

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