‘Eye Pod’ coming to east Antrim

The facility will be set up in Larne and Newtownabbey.
The facility will be set up in Larne and Newtownabbey.

To mark National Eye Health Week (September 24-30), an interactive sight loss simulator will visit Larne on September 27.

The simulator, which will visit as part of a partnership with the town’s Specsavers store, will be set up at Broadway.

The Eye Pod simulator will also visit Abbey Centre Specsavers store and will be located in the Food Hall inside the shopping centre on Wednesday, September 26.

It aims to educate the public about the importance of eye health and regular eye tests.

This comes in light of research published by charity, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Specsavers that reveals one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite half of all cases being preventable.

The alarming statistics show that 300 people in the United Kingdom start living with sight loss every day.

Women are at greater risk than men, with nearly one in four women set to develop sight loss in their lifetime compared with one in eight men.

More than six million people in the UK currently live with sight-threatening conditions or uncorrected refractive error, yet 25 per cent of people are not having an eye test every two years, as recommended by the College of Optometrists.

The extent of the problem means that nearly every family in Britain is touched by sight problems in some way.

The Specsavers/RNIB Eye Pod will demonstrate how the four main eye conditions (Age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts) can affect your sight.

The trailer has two cameras on top of the pod which link to screens inside where the public can view their surroundings with symptoms of each condition. In each case the experience lasts around one minute, with key facts and statistics about the condition then appearing on the screen.

Experts will be on hand throughout the day to offer sight loss advice and free eye test vouchers.

RNIB spokesperson Kirsty Campbell said: “The eye care crisis looks set to deepen and the cost burden is destined to soar unless urgent action is taken.

“Better public take-up of routine eye tests, earlier diagnosis, timely intervention, management and treatment of eye conditions can help to save sight as well as alleviating the burden on local healthcare trusts and the public purse.”

The Eye Pod tour is also visiting locations in Belfast and Omagh to raise awareness and funds in support of RNIB.

For more information on eye health, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health