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Falkirk Opticians Eye Examination Given Parliamentary Approval

Friday, 18 September 2009

Specsavers in Falkirk welcomed Michael Matheson MSP into the store this week to promote the health benefits of regular sight tests.

Eight MSPs from across Scotland have been invited into their local Specsavers stores in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of the eye test and its ability to detect conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma.

Mr Matheson says: 'I am very pleased to be able to help increase the public awareness of the importance of the free biennial eye tests. The early detection of conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes can make a real difference to sufferers' lives and can even save their eye sight.'

Debbie McGill, operations manager at Optometry Scotland, says: 'Initiatives such as this are very important. Raising awareness about the free eye test in Scotland will hopefully lead to more people having their sight checked, and therefore more health issues will be detected.'

The state-of-the-art fundus camera, which was sponsored by the Scottish Government, now forms an integral part of the eye examination, helping to detect conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes. It was demonstrated to the Falkirk West MSP on Monday.

The eye's fundus is the only part of the human body where the microcirculation of the blood can be observed directly. The fundus camera is attached to a specialised bio-microscope, and is used to photograph the retina. It broadens the testing process to provide a health assessment of each patient's whole visual system. As well as glaucoma and diabetes, it can also enable the detection of several other conditions including inflammatory disorders, age-related macular degeneration and vascular occlusions.

Specsavers Falkirk store director Jonathan Cawley says: 'Everyone will benefit from this equipment and will be able to access eyecare that is appropriate to their needs.

'We advise everyone to have their eyes tested every two years and having the fundus camera will help us quickly identify any deterioration in the quality of a patient's sight and allows us to act upon that quickly. There are particular groups at more risk that we encourage to make an appointment with us, these include the over 60s and people with a family history of glaucoma.'

- Ends -


Specsavers 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 1,340 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Australia
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.4 billion in 2009
  • The group plans to continue its successful international expansion by opening stores in New Zealand
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eighth year running by Reader's Digest in 2009
  • Greater than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * - nine and a half million glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2008
  • 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 offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations.
  • 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 more than 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 2008)