2 August 2017
Source: VISION 2020 UK, West Midlands Local Eye Health Network, Health Education England in the West Midlands
Nearly 100 delegates from the vision impaired, public health, eye health and commissioning sectors attended a multidisciplinary conference taking place alongside Site Village the UK’s premier exhibition for blind and partially-sighted people. The aim of the conference was to highlight the issues of sight loss, employment and wellbeing. The day featured experts from the across public health, third sector and experts by experience including those focused on solutions to enable better care and improve quality of life for this growing group within the UK.
VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration and co-operation between organisations with an interest in eye health and sight loss, hosted the one-day forum with West Midlands Local Eye Health Network, NHS England, Health Education England in the West Midlands and Sight Village. The aim was to raise awareness and increase understanding of the problems faced by those affected by visual impairment and how employment and unemployment affects their health and wellbeing. The discussions also addressed possible solutions.
There are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss. At least one-third have irreversible sight loss; others include those that have uncorrected refractive error or cataract that may be reversed. This figure also includes around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK, who have severe and irreversible sight loss. There is a very low employment level amongst blind and partially sighted people of working age with only one in four in paid employment. The day was focused on raising the issues and determining solutions.
The event attracted almost 100 delegates from across different sectors including Commissioners, Public Health managers and workers, Rehabilitation Officers, Social Workers, GP’s, Ophthalmologists, Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, Sensory Loss Social Workers, Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians, Orthoptists, Carers and Service users
VISION 2020 UK CEO Matt Broom, conference Chair commented: “The issues of employment and public health for visually impaired people are hugely important to health, wellbeing and being part of society. This day was organised to highlight the issues, talk about solutions and to enable people to engage and learn from the work being done by experts in the field. We hope to have inspired and encouraged change.”
Presentations from the day are available here: https://www.visionuk.org.uk/presentations-impact-visual-impairment-health-wealth-jobs-taking-person-centred-approach-wellbeing-confernce-sight-village-birmingham-180717/
Press release in word format below