Milton Keynes resident urges others to take advantage of free eye tests as health initiative visits Bedford

A 40-year-old Milton Keynes resident is urging others to get their eyes checked following a visit to the new Vision Express Vision Van on Friday 16 March for a free test.

The high-tech mobile testing vehicle visited Harpur Square for one day only as part of a UK tour to mark World Glaucoma Week (11–18 March), after Bedford was identified as having a high prevalence of the sight-stealing condition.

Recent figures indicate a worrying outlook for vision in the area, with over 5,000 residents living with suspected glaucoma – being 5.64% of the local population.

Craig Bakin was one of many who took advantage of the free initiative. “I really think it’s a great idea to raise awareness of the importance of getting your eyes tested,” he says. “For me, it’s about getting ahead of the game and identifying potential problems early before any damage is caused. Getting your eyes tested can help sort any issues before it’s too late, so the Vision Van initiative is a very good thing.”

45 per cent of those who visited the Vision Van admitted to not having had a test in over two years and 40 per cent of those tested were issued with new prescriptions.

Vision Express has launched its brand-new Vision Van amid new research showing that the number of glaucoma cases in the UK is likely to top 1.28 million by 2050 – an increase of 85%. The high-tech mobile eye testing facility journeyed across the UK to areas with higher than average cases of the sight-stealing condition, offering free eye tests to the public during World Glaucoma Week.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “To celebrate our 30 years of trading, we’ve worked with the Road Haulage Association to put on the road a top-of-the-range mobile eye testing vehicle. It is equipped with the very latest in eye testing technology, including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which a study has revealed can pick up glaucoma up to eight years before any sight loss is experienced.”

One of the biggest causes of preventable sight loss worldwide, glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and, as it becomes damaged, vision is lost. There are an estimated 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK, but research indicates half of those are undiagnosed.

For those unable to visit the Vision Van during its tour, downloadable, free eye test vouchers are still available before 25 March on the Vision Express website www.visionexpress.com/world-glaucoma-week-2018/free-eye-test and valid for redemption in any of the retailer’s stores nationwide by the 30th April 2018.

For further information about World Glaucoma Week, visit: www.visionexpress.com/world-glaucoma-week-2018.