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Credit Crunch Health Warning - Saving Pounds May Cost You

Monday, 05 January 2009

A recent poll by YouGov has revealed that adults are risking their eyesight by ignoring reminders for regular eye examinations. 

The poll commissioned by charity Action for Blind People, revealed that more than a quarter of 2,350 adults had not had an eye test for two years, and 30% said cost was the reason.

Paul Carroll, Professional Services Director at Specsavers, says: 'Although saving money is front of all our minds at the moment, you can't put a price on something as important as your eyesight, especially as optometrists are also trained to spot serious health complications, such as diabetes.

'A regular eye examination every two years could cost less than £1 per month and for many people is free on the NHS, including those at risk of glaucoma, people on low incomes and the over 60s. If you use computers at work you may also be eligible for your employer to pay for an examination.'

As Mr Carroll points out, an eye examination can often be the first route of diagnosis and can detect any of the following health conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions such as heart disease
  • Cancers of the eye such as melanomas
  • Brain tumours
  • High cholesterol
  • Detached retina
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Glaucoma

Jasmin Harris, aged 19 years old from Teignmouth owes her life to her local Specsavers after a routine eye examination detected that her optic nerve was raised with enlarged blind spots.

Jasmine was immediately referred Jasmin to the Torbay Hospital eye clinic where doctors conducted CT and MRI scans, as well as two lumbar punctures. The tests showed that she was suffering from benign intracranial pressure. The rare condition, which effects only one in 100,000 people, is caused by a build up of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) in the brain. This puts pressure on the brain and eyes. If left unchecked, the build up of CSF could have become fatal.

Jasmin says: 'I am so grateful to Specsavers for diagnosing my condition. What's so frightening is that if I hadn't gone for an eye examination I could have died.'

'It really isn't worth the risk of foregoing an essential health check, especially as it could save your life,' says Mr Carroll.

To book an eye appointment or find your local Specsavers, call 0800 0680 241 or log onto www.specsavers.co.uk.  


- Ends -

Specsavers Opticians notes to editors                                               

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their eldest son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,260 optical stores and hearing centres throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.05 billion for the financial year 2008/9
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 23,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the seventh year running by Reader's Digest in 2008
  • Specsavers has 36% of the market share in the UK
  • One in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers Opticians - eight and a half million glasses were sold during 2007
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and will offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations by the end of 2008
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Diabetes UK, for whom they have raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries


*GfK Home Audit (Dec 2007)