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Government Prioritises Eye Health

Government prioritises eye health and the fight against preventable sight loss

January 2012

The optical bodies, The Optical Confederation, LOCSU along with the College of Optometrists have commended government for making the first ever national commitment to tackle preventable sight loss. 
Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Improving outcomes and supporting transparency, published this week, sets the national public health priorities for England and includes a measure of eye health.  The indicator will measure the number of people losing their sight from the three main causes of preventable sight loss: glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.  Without action it is estimated that there will be 2.45 million people living with sight loss in the UK by 2020 and 4 million by 2050.  Half of all sight loss is preventable.

Speaking on behalf of Optical Confederation, David Hewlett said, “We have been stressing the priority of eye health through the UK Vision Strategy Partnership for some years now as well as highlighting the vital role that the nation’s optometrists and dispensing opticians play, with hospital colleagues, in improving sight and preventing visual impairment through early detection and treatment.  This indicator will provide the focus that has previously been missing for NHS commissioners and Joint Health and Wellbeing Boards to work together, and with us, to tackle these public health challenges.  The government is to be congratulated for recognising that the current levels of avoidable blindness are not acceptable and for taking action to tackle them.”

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