At the launch of National Eye Week, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) today (Monday 10th May) called for people experiencing problems with their sight to contact the organisation for support and advice.
At present 7,000 people are registered with NCBI. However, if statistics from research conducted in the UK recently are applied to the Irish context it is likely that a massive 70,000 people are vision impaired, meaning that 63,000 people in Ireland are experiencing significant sight loss but not seeking support from organisations like NCBI.
It is understood that many people who are experiencing problems with their sight, often over retirement age, try to cope with their loss of vision and its effects alone, attributing their sight loss to growing older or other factors. Many try to adapt to their changing vision alone, rather than contacting professional or support organisations for assistance. It is often only when encouraged by others, or when a significant deterioration occurs that assistance is sought from medical professionals or from support agencies such as NCBI, and it is only then that support, advice and information can be provided to the individual.
Des Kenny, Chief Executive of NCBI said “National Eye Week is about encouraging people to be aware of their eyesight, and to take care of it. It’s also about letting people know that support and assistance is available. The National Council for the Blind of Ireland provides services both for people with no vision and for people with impaired vision: 82% of the people with whom we work have some usable vision. I would encourage anyone who is experiencing significant problems with their sight, or anyone who is concerned about a friend or relative to contact NCBI. We will do all that we can to support you at this time.”
The National Council for the Blind of Ireland is the main service provider for people with vision impairments in Ireland. It provides advice, support and information
from a nationwide network of over 70 rehabilitation, mobility and community resource workers as well as trainers in the use of adaptive technology. With a community resource worker in every county and regional resource centres,, services include mobility training, practical advice, information on benefits and entitlements, training for independent living, low vision aids, group and respite activities, peer counselling, family therapy an audio, large print and Braille libraries.
As part of National Eye Week, NCBI is encouraging people to protect the sight they have, and to have their eyes examined at least every two years, or more frequently if they need to be monitored, since the signs and symptoms of some eye conditions are not very noticeable and may need to be identified and dealt with as early as possible.
NCBI are organising awareness stands in hospitals around the country this week as well as hosting an open day on Friday 14th May in NCBI Head Office, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. All are welcome.
Friday 7th May 2004
For further information please contact:
Sarah Gahan on 01 8307033 or 087 6846088 or email email@example.com