A London Eye Health Strategy should be developed to address the growing eye health issue in London, an investigation by the London Assembly Health Committee has recommended.
The Health Committee has today launched its ‘Eye Health – preventing sight loss in London’ report, which Thomas Pocklington Trust was pleased to give evidence for.
The report has found that eye health is a growing issue in London, with an extra 194,000 Londoners predicted to have a sight-threatening eye condition and an extra 74,000 with sight loss by 2030. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) estimates that there are already 680,000 people– around one in twelve of the adult population – in London living with a sight-threatening eye health condition.
The report also found that eye health must become a greater public priority, recognising the impact it has on wider health and wellbeing, and that more should be done to encourage Londoners to look after their eye health and raise awareness of the need for regular eye tests.
The Health Committee’s key recommendations are:
- The Mayor should work with the eye health sector to help develop and implement a London wide strategic plan for eye health.
- The Mayor should ensure that the Thrive LDN mental health programme and the London Healthy Workplace Charter include support for people with eye health conditions and sight loss
- The Mayor should use his profile to highlight eye health risks for disadvantaged groups and support the use of community champions to promote eye health.
- The Mayor should promote vision screening for four and five year olds and ensure that eye health is included in the forthcoming Healthy Early Years Programme.
Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee, said: “London has a ticking sight loss time bomb on its hands and not enough is being done to raise awareness of the issue.
“London has some of the best eye health services in the world, but the system is fragmented and plagued with a number of worrying health inequalities. We know that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, homeless people and people with learning disabilities are disproportionately affected by poor eye health. High quality care needs to be accessible to these groups.
“We are lacking strong leadership in this area and the Mayor of London is ideally placed to drive forward the changes that are needed to transform eye health care in London. We need an eye health strategy for London and we need it urgently.”
Photo credit: Image from the London Assembly Health Committee report.