Six million older people are putting their sight at risk by failing to have regular eye tests, revealed a report published today.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People is calling on the government to set up a large-scale eye health awareness campaign to address this issue.
Working under the umbrella organisation, Vision 2020 UK, it aims to eradicate avoidable sight loss by 2020.
The charity estimates that every day 100 people start to lose their sight. This situation could be prevented by treating many eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, in the early stages before it leads to blindness, said RNIB.
But a RNIB survey revealed that 47% of people aged 60-89 are not having annual eye tests.
The charity recommends people aged over-60 see an optician once a year. It stressed that many eye conditions did not have symptoms in the early stages.
“It’s too dangerous to leave an eye test until you notice something’s wrong,” said Barbara McLaughlan, RNIB campaigns manager.
According to RNIB figures, age is the highest risk factor in common eye conditions. Currently one in twelve 60-year-olds have sight problems; this rises to one in six by the time people reach 75. It estimates that there are currently two million people with sight problems in the UK.