Today I visited the offices of Bradbury Fields services for the blind and partially sighted. I heard about the work they are doing there under the UK Vision Strategy, in which Bradbury Fields have teamed up with Action for Blind People and the Royal National Institute of Blind People to call for a higher priority for eye care services.
Liverpool’s ageing population means that there are going to be growing numbers of people with sight problems. The extra demand will fall not only on the local services which provide care, but on the rehabilitation services offered by the local authority. Health and social care agencies will need to work together to meet this increased demand.
Far too many people in Liverpool do not have regular eye tests. Half of all sight loss is preventable. More needs to be done to increase the proportion of the population having a regular eye test. This could save the sight of literally thousands of people in Liverpool.
Whilst I was there, I was given a small insight into what its like to have a sight problem, when I was guided around the premises wearing a blindfold.
Talking to local blind and partially sighted people has given me a greater understanding of the day to day challenges they face and where the gaps in services lie. Only by working together can we ensure that more support is available to allow people with sight problems to live independently.