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OPSM Visique join forces for Lions World Sight Day


OPSM and Visique join forces for Lions World Sight Day

Lions World Sight Day sponsors, OPSM and Visique are working with Lions Clubs New Zealand to build awareness of the importance of regular eye tests for early detection of eye problems and diseases. Lions World Sight Day was launched by Lions Clubs International in 1998 to educate the world about preventable and reversible blindness and the importance of proper eye care.

All New Zealanders, whether they have a known eye condition or not, should get their eyes examined by an optometrist every two years or as recommended by their optometrist. Astonishingly, blindness was preventable for at least one fifth of all the people registered with the Royal Foundation for the Blind in New Zealand.

“You need to get your eyes examined regularly, not just to test your vision but to check for eye conditions and diseases like glaucoma, which often have no symptoms,” says Diane McAteer, General Manager of Visique. “Early treatment is absolutely critical to catch eye diseases in their early stages when treatment and management is more successful and before permanent damage is done.”

Eye care messages are particularly important for two groups: people over forty, as the risk of eye diseases and conditions increase with age; and children, because poor vision can limit their ability to learn, read and play sport and often children don’t recognise they have vision problems.

OPSM recommend that children’s eyes are examined before they start school to identify and treat any problems.

“A few of the signs that your child is suffering from vision problems are: holding books very closely; tilting the head, covers or closes one eye when reading or writing; complains of headaches, tiredness or discomfort when reading or writing; and complains of not seeing clearly and not being able to see or copy things from the board,” says Donald Klaassen, Optometrist and Professional Services Manager at OPSM.

Concerns over good eye care are rising as ever more New Zealanders face the threat of blindness, particularly in the advent of the diabetes epidemic. There are 115,000 people in New Zealand with diagnosed diabetes, while as many again have diabetes and do not know it. These people are at greater risk of developing diabetic eye disease, or diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand. Early detection and timely treatment, however, can substantially reduce the risk of severe visual loss or blindness from diabetic eye disease.

Each District Health Board is running a registered and free retinal screening service to test people for diabetic retinopathy. People can access this service through their general practitioner or health professional.

Lions World Sight Day is this Thursday 10 October. To mark Lions World Sight Day, OPSM stores and Visique practices around the country are collecting unused eye glasses and sunglasses from Monday 7 October to Sunday 13 October. The glasses will be recycled and distributed to areas in New Zealand by Lions Clubs and the South Pacific by Voluntary Ophthalmic Service Overseas (VOSO).


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