Wednesday, 7 November 2012
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has named eye health among their top priorities for elderly patients from 2013.
This announcement comes after a successful proposal from the UK Vision Strategy a group of eye care professionals, volunteers and visually impaired people who work together with organisations on issues relating to vision loss with the aim of improving eye health in the UK and preventing unnecessary vision loss. They will be working in partnership with the RCGP in order to develop a framework to help GP’s across the UK recognise undetected sight loss among the elderly.
Dr Waqaar Shah, ophthalmology representative for the College, explained the benefits of the three year programme which will launch in April next year: "By identifying sight loss at an earlier stage, GPs can prevent patients suffering from other issues such as falls and depression which have strong links with sight loss, significantly improving the lives of patients."
Anita Lightstone, programme director for the UK Vision Strategy and chief operations officer for Vision 2020, also spoke out about the programme, she said: "Many older people accept poor vision as part of the natural aging process, but this doesn't need to be the case. GPs have a vital role to play in raising awareness of the need for them to protect their eye health.”
By 2050 it is predicted that four million people in the UK will be suffering from sight loss, almost double what it is now. 81% of that vision loss will occur in people aged over 60.
In 2009, Access Economics reported the five main causes of sight loss in the UK were: age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, refractive error, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and that over 50% of sight loss could be avoided.
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