Sheffield man advised to see GP after first eye test in 15 year

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A Sheffield shopper has discovered he may need help for high cholesterol, after an impromptu eye test in Fargate this week.

Zaqer Mused was one of two people referred to a GP after visiting the Vision Express ‘Vision Van’ - a high-tech mobile testing unit – in the city to mark Macular Week.

Nine in ten of those who had eye tests at the ‘Vision Van’ were found to need further eye health care, with seven people requiring new prescriptions.

Zaqer, who hadn’t had his eyes tested for 15 years, said: “I was out shopping and noticed the big, bright Vision Van. I thought I’d pop in and take advantage of the free eye test as it’s been such a long time since I last had my eyes checked.

“My dad has diabetes so he has his eyes tested regularly but I just kept putting it off. I didn’t realise that the test could check my health as well as my eyesight.

“The optometrist advised me to see my GP, as it has shown that I might have high cholesterol, which is something I’d not really thought about before. The team was really friendly and helpful today, I’m really glad I came.”

Vision Express optometrist Farah Chaudry, who was on board the Vision Van, added: “Today has shown the importance of coming to get your eyes tested regularly. If Zaqer hadn’t come along, he might not have known about his high cholesterol. His GP can now advise him on the best course of action.

“We want people to take positive steps to safeguard their sight for a lifetime. Research shows that 37% put off having an eye test due to cost concern[1], so by offering this essential health check for free, Vision Express is setting aside the affordability issue to help those that need it most in Sheffield.

Sheffield residents can still benefit from a free eye test by downloading an online voucher from the Vision Express website: www.visionexpress.com/macular-week-2016/ .The voucher can be used at any of the retailer’s stores until the end of August.

The city is one of five areas targeted in the initiative as research shows that in Sheffield alone, more than 9,000 people aged over 50 have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a further 19,555 others have risk factors of the disease (11 per cent of the local population).

AMD is a painless eye condition that affects central vision and has no cure. It is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world. Around 600,000 people in the UK have vision loss as a result of AMD. Nearly 200 new cases are detected every day, with the number of people affected forecast to increase due to more eye disease in an ageing population which requires long term care.

The Vision Van also offered the chance to snap up a pair of yellow heart-shaped ‘Eye Love’ sunglasses in exchange for a suggested donation of £5 to the Macular Society.