Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is supporting a drive during National Eye Health Week, this week, to highlight the importance of regular check-ups with an optometrist.

Although eye exams are free for everyone in Scotland, the Western Isles are one of the areas of lowest take-up.

Yet sight loss charity RNIB Scotland is pointing out that eye exams might also detect the first signs of other serious health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “Having recently been for an eye examination myself, I am eager to remind everyone in my constituency that a simple appointment with your local high street optometrist can pick up warning signs of any sight impairment, and perhaps point to the symptoms of other health problems.

“Unlike the rest of the UK, eye examinations are absolutely free for everyone in Scotland. So it’s time we looked after more seriously one of the most precious things we have – our sight.”

RNIB Scotland director James Adams said: “Every survey shows that sight is the sense people fear losing most. And yet we can be surprisingly negligent about our eye health. We tend to think of it as something to do when we want new glasses or contact lenses, but we should all get our eyes checked every two years or so.

“Since eye exams were made free in Scotland in 2006 uptake has increased, leading to more people’s sight and other conditions being diagnosed in time to treat them. This is hugely more cost-effective than meeting the medical and social costs of people who might otherwise go on to lose vision or suffer ill-health unnecessarily.”

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