Services available across Mid Devon have been highlighted ahead of National Eye Health Week.

Helen McIntosh from the Mid Devon Messenger, a talking newspaper said: “Many people fear losing their vision, but may not be aware of how to care for their eyes. National Eye Health Week highlights a few simple steps you can take to help make a difference.

“There are two million people in the UK living with sight loss severe enough to have a significant impact on their lives; almost half have avoidable sight loss.

“Regular sight tests can identify the early signs of Glaucoma, which can be treated if detected soon enough. Most types of glaucoma have no symptoms and therefore regular sight tests are the only way to identify the condition. You may not notice any change in your vision, yet your sight might have deteriorated; this is why Glaucoma is often known as the “silent thief”.

“Early detection is key to the effective treatment of most sight threatening conditions. Attending your regular sight test really is a must. Sight tests can also be useful in detecting high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Lifestyle can have an effect on your eyes. There are strong links between smoking and sight loss, yet few smokers are aware of this. Smokers are four times more likely to suffer from Age Related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the U.K.

“On a positive note, eating a balanced diet including oily fish, fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables has been shown to aid not just general health but eye health too.

“So book that overdue sight test now, and knock together a tasty treat using fresh veg and oily fish.”

If you are suffering with significant sight loss, there are a number of local organisations and services available to help you.

Devon in Sight offers a range of services to people who are blind or partially sighted across many areas of Devon.

In Mid Devon clients, are supported by Community Support Worker, Margaret Vickers. She can arrange a home visit with you to carry out an award winning Sight Loss MOT. We discuss your individual needs and assist you to access support in your local community.

Support can come in many forms, from hosting local technology workshops, to signposting clients to organisations such as The Macular Society and the RNIB services.

Devon in Sight also runs friendly and informative Talk and Support Groups in Tiverton, Cullompton and Crediton every two months. The groups provide an opportunity for people to meet and share ideas. Meetings often feature a guest speaker with a focus on services that support those living with visual impairment.

A range of services is available, by appointment only, at the head office in Splatford Barton, Kennford.

For more information, or to book an appointment with our Community Support Service, please ring 01392 876 666 or visit our website www.devoninsight.org.uk

Talking books is a local library offers a wide range of Large Print books and audio books in different formats including CDs, Playaways and MP3 discs. Downloadable e-audiobooks are also available to borrow free of charge from our website – www.devonlibraries.org.uk

In most libraries the Royal Voluntary Service are available to deliver books and audiobooks to you in your home – for more information contact Cathy Saunders at Cathy.Saunders@royalvoluntaryservice.gov.uk or 07786635163.

In addition the Reading Sight website – www.readingsight.org.uk/about_reading_sight has lots of useful information about different book formats including RNIB services and technology that supports reading.

The Mid Devon Messenger can help to maintain your interest in local news.

Your local talking newspaper keeps you in touch with your community. The Mid Devon Messenger arrives through your letterbox each week, bringing news, information, and articles from the Tiverton and Culm Valley Gazettes.

Recorded on a memory stick, we will give you a simple player that you’ll be able to use to listen to the Messenger, and also any of your talking books provided in this format.

The service is free of charge.

For further details contact enquiries@middevonmessenger.org.uk or call Helen McIntosh on 07834 688838





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