With research revealing that 50 per cent of eye problems can be avoided with early diagnosis, a £400,000 Big Lottery-funded project is offering free eye health checks and advice, provided locally through the South Lincolnshire Blind Society (SLBS).
The Optimeyes project, is a partnership between the RNIB and five other societies for the blind and partially sighted, including the SLBS.
The aim is to identify those aged 50 and over with, or at risk of, sight loss. Driving the project forward for SLBS is Eve Farley MBE, an honour she received for her work over two decades with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, based in Washington DC. This included helping a UK small-medium enterprise company secure a £38 million contract with US Customs.
After retiring, Eve was keen to find a voluntary role where she could put her experience working with major firms to good use.
Furthermore, following her husband’s sight loss diagnosis, the cause is one close to her heart. “Eye checks earlier on could have prevented it,” says Eve.
Her plan to ensure that as many people as possible do receive the checks in time is to approach major employers in the area. “We would like these eye health checks to become the norm, as part of employment packages,” Eve adds.
So far, Moy Park has worked with SLBS to set up a drop-in eye clinic for its staff, with more planned in the future.
Talks are underway with Totemic, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue to provide the same to their workforce, while the National Trust has invited SLBS to offer talks and checks at events for its 400-plus volunteers.
SLBS has also united with Barclays in Grantham to provide checks as part of the bank’s ‘Digital Eagles’ initiative, providing IT training to their customers.
For more on the Optimeyes project, including arranging checks for employees, email Evef@blind-society.org.uk
* Eye health awareness week
This week, SLBS is providing quick and easy vision checks at stands in various locations around Grantham:
* Tuesday – Marks & Spencer, London Road, 10am to 4pm;
* Wednesday – ‘Your Local Blind Society Working for You’ presentation by Eve Farley MBE and Ian Selby, followed by refreshments, at the SLBS office, 14 Finkin Street, 10am to noon;
* Thursday – Sainsbury’s, London Road, 10am to 4pm;
* Friday – Isaac Newton Shopping Centre, 10am to 4pm.
You can also contact SLBS on 01476 592775.