Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free eye tests for all

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Copy of RNIB media release: Glenn Vowles Green Candidate for Bristol East takes RNIB quiz and says “It’s time we all took more care of our eyes ….that's why Greens would reintroduce free eye tests for all”

Glenn Vowles today took part in a quiz from RNIB to raise awareness amongst election candidates of the leading causes of sight loss. Questions also ask who can get free eye tests and how many of us are already living with sight problems.

Six million older people at risk of blindness
There are around 1.8 million people in the UK already living with sight loss, with around 2700 in Bristol East. RNIB’s quiz revealed that pensioners are most at risk of losing their sight, in fact two-thirds of partially sighted people are aged 75 or over. Yet, six million older people in the UK (47 per cent) are needlessly risking their sight by not having their eyes tested regularly, despite being eligible for free eye tests.

Saving sight
Mr Vowles was also shocked to learn that nearly 50 per cent of all sight loss is avoidable. This includes people with refractive error – that is people in need of a correct prescription for glasses or contact lenses - and people who have lost sight through conditions that could have been treated if detected early enough, such as glaucoma.

Glenn said, "Sight is the sense we most fear losing, so why are so many of us are potentially putting it at risk through not having regular sight tests? There needs to be a greater public understanding that a sight test isn't just about whether you need glasses, it can also detect signs of eye disease. It’s time we all took eye health and sight loss seriously."

RNIB recommends that everyone should get their eyes tested every two years, or more frequently if recommended by an optometrist.


Notes to editors

1. Glenn Vowles, tel 0117 9717023,

2. Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK's leading charity offering information, support and advice to around two million people with sight loss. Visit
www.rnib.org.uk or call 0303 123 9999.

3. The production of the quiz has been supported a by third-party agency provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

RNIB is non-political in its dealings and during the general election campaign and adheres to Charity Commission Guidance. RNIB does not support the views of any particular party.

The Small Charities Coalition

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Passing this message on...The Small Charities Coalition helps small charities...With over 160,000 charities registered in England and Wales and 139,915 having incomes of less than £500k* there are bound to be dozens or even hundreds of small charities within your constituency who could benefit (*Source: Charity Commission, Dec 2009).

The Small Charities Coalition helps small charities get access to the advice and guidance they need - sometimes even training - free of charge, and without cooking the books!

A small charity is matched with an individual supporter that has the skills to mentor or coach the charity through a specific problem or a longer term issue such as organisational development or generating sustainable income. This supporter will either come from a fellow small charity or larger organisation. Small charities and supporters can also tap into the Coalition’s ever growing network at events and keep up to date with regular emails and newsletters. All that we ask in return is that charities be prepared to share their own skills and experience with their fellow small charities.

The Small Charities Coalition operates nationally and currently has 450 small charity members and 100 Supporters from charities such as Cancer Research UK, Beatbullying, Oxfam, British Red Cross and Anthony Nolan Trust. The more organisations that join, the more diverse and rich resources we have to draw on to help small charities.

So help us to help small charities in your constituency by telling them about the Small Charities Coalition and by displaying our poster (see image, click to enlarge) wherever you can. For more information please contact me on 020 7391 4812 or email atinfo@smallcharities.org.uk .

Thank you

Cath Lee
Chief ExecutiveSmall Charities Coalition


Tel 0207 391 4812