Residents of Southampton were given the opportunity to learn about the effects of serious eye conditions during the latest leg of the Specsavers/RNIB Eye Pod tour.

Experience sight-limiting conditions

The Eye Pod – a simulator that allows users to experience what it is like to live with sight-limiting conditions – pitched up on Above Bar Street near the Specsavers Southampton store this Wednesday.

Two cameras mounted on top of the pod allowed visitors to view their surroundings through the eyes of people living with cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Eyecare experts were also available to answer any vision-related questions from the public and hand out free eye test vouchers, glasses cleaners and other goodies.

Those attending on the day included the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Les Harris, who was given a demonstration of the Eye Pod by Specsavers head of enhanced optical services, Tom Mogford.

State of the nation report

It comes as a new report published by RNIB and Specsavers shows that one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime, despite at least half of all cases being avoidable.

Richard Laughlin, store director of Specsavers in Southampton, says the alarming new statistics show 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.

Richard adds: ‘More than 80 per cent of people are not aware that an optician can spot the early signs of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK.

‘In fact, the survey shows that people put their boiler before their eye health; half of UK adults have their boiler serviced once a year, over a third renew their mobile phone contract every two years, while 50 per cent of UK adults last had their eyes tested more than a year ago or never.’

Six million

Almost six million people in the UK currently live with sight-threatening conditions yet 25 per cent of people are not having an eye test every two years as recommended by the College of Optometrists. The extent of the problem means that nearly every family in Britain is touched by sight problems in some way.

Other results from the survey showed that Brits check their teeth more often than their eyes; 42 per cent visit the dentist once every six months (equating to four times over two years) while 25 per cent of UK adults have not had an eye test in the past two years or at all.

A quarter of people who spend £50 a year on shoes would not be prepared to pay anything at all for an eye test.

All Southampton store information