On Monday 21st September three national charities along with the local sight loss group VISOR will be working together to help improve the understanding of visual impairment and sight loss among the residents of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. To celebrate National Eye Health week Thomas Pocklington Trust have arranged for RNIB’s sight loss simulation bus, the Eye Pod, to be placed outside of the Pret-A-Manger at 37 Lower George Street, Richmond.

Visitors to the Eye Pod will be able to see on screen what Richmond High Street looks like from the perspective of someone who has visual impairment, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Opticians will be on hand to advise anyone with concerns.

Jackie Venus, Chair of the Local Sight Loss Group VISOR said “’I have got involved with National Eye Health Week because I feel the need to promote to elderly people that sight loss is not just something they have to put up with, or a sign of their age. There is plenty of support available for their needs alongside options for treatment’

Joanne Boyd, Chair of the Local Optical Committee, said “We advise more people to go for regular check ups, through our expertise we are keen to do what we can to prevent avoidable sight loss and keep people independent and active as long as possible to maintain quality of life.”

Fazilet Hadi, RNIB Director of Engagement, said: “The Eye Pod is a great way of getting people involved but it also gets across the serious message that people need to make their eye health a priority. Up to 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided and there are things people can do to protect their vision including having regular eye check ups.”

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, Cllr David Marlow, said: “Reducing the impact of long term conditions along with early intervention to avoid illness and disability is a core strategic aim of our Health and Wellbeing Board Strategy. It is good that VISOR in association with Thomas Pocklington Trust are supporting us locally with awareness of avoidable sight loss. The day is a good reminder that we all can do simple things to look after our own sight.”

The Eye Pod will be outside the Pret-A-Manger at 37 Lower George Street between 10.30am and 4.00pm. Thomas Pocklington Trust volunteers and RNIB staff will be on hand to assist with the viewing screen and local optometrists will be available to provide information and advice for people worried about issues with sight.