SNP MSP Stuart McMillan lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to mark Eye Health Week – highlighting the Scottish Government’s continuing commitment to free eye tests. Mr McMillan is the Convener of the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Visual Impairment.
The World Health Organisation has suggested that 50% of sight loss is preventable – and Mr McMillan will highlight the challenges that an ageing population, increases in diabetes and poor diet could contribute to the numbers of visually impaired people in Scotland over the next 20 years.
The SNP in government is taking action to prevent this – including continued free eye tests which ensure people from all backgrounds are able to access treatment which can detect a range of sight-threatening diseases. The Scottish Government recently announced a review of community optometry services to make further improvements.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“I was delighted to lead this important debate in Parliament recognising Eye Health Week – giving MSPs an opportunity to discuss important issues related to eye health and a chance to thank those organisations such as RNIB Scotland, Optometry Scotland, Guide Dogs Scotland and the country’s eye-health professionals for the work they carry out in this field.
“I spent some time on the RNIB Scotland stall at Oak Mall Shopping Centre in Greenock on Monday speaking to shoppers highlighting the benefits of getting eyes tested on a regular basis.
“The WHO has argued that 50% of sight loss is preventable, and in Scotland we are seeing issues emerging such as an ageing population, increases in diabetes and poor diet potentially contributing to higher levels of visual impairment in the coming years. This is why the SNP’s policy of maintaining free eye tests is so important.
Stuart McMillan MSP also revealed that he volunteered with RNIB Scotland to help promote Eye Health to Inverclyde residents:
“On Monday I helped at the RNIB Scotland stand in Greenock’s Oak Mall Shopping Centre. My thanks to the Oak Mall Management for allowing the stall and to RNIB Scotland for agreeing to come again to Greenock.
“We spoke to a large number of people locally and raised the importance of getting eyes tested regularly.
“Promoting free eye tests to wider society is equally important – especially amongst vulnerable groups where awareness has been found to be lower. Scottish Government public eye health campaigns have proved useful, and I look forward to seeing the results of the community optometry service review as we seek to improve eye health across Scotland.”