Are you doing enough to help protect your sight?

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Preventing sight loss is a priority for Galloway’s Society for the Blind every day.

GALLOWAYS APPEAL: Help us raise £50,000 for charity minibus

But the charity makes a concentrated effort to raise awareness during National Eye Health Week, which was started in 2009 by Vision Matters and now is an annual event.

Charities, organisations and health professionals working in the sight loss sector join together to raise awareness of eye health and the importance of having regular eye tests, therefore prevent avoidable sight loss.

During the week, Galloway’s has been at Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Hospital to give out information and offer demonstrations; attended a health mela at All Seasons Leisure Centre, Chorley; sent out information packs to businesses at North Lancs Expo Lancaster Brewery; given eye tests to police officers and visited schools.

Galloway’s has also hosted blind climbing sessions at West View Leisure Centre and blind karaoke at freshers fairs at UCLan and Lancaster University.

Galloway's asking Students to try Karaoke but wearing sim specs which simulate the effects of some of the more common eye conditions

Galloway's asking Students to try Karaoke but wearing sim specs which simulate the effects of some of the more common eye conditions

Claire Warner, head of fund-raising, said: “National Eye Health Week has been fantastic. We have had so much interaction.

“I was amazed to speak with at least four visually impaired students who were starting their first year.

“We were there to promote eye health and how much sight loss can be avoidable and didn’t expect to come across anyone who was visually impaired. But it was great to reach out to them and be able to offer support. We spoke to them about accessing audio textbooks and materials for their courses.

“We had a great response from students who enjoyed our blind karaoke - we even had 300 people sign up to be elves for our Santa’s Grotto at St George’s Centre in November and December.”

Photo Neil Cross Galloway's encouraging people to climb blindfolded at West View

Photo Neil Cross Galloway's encouraging people to climb blindfolded at West View

Offering support for more than 150 years

Galloway’s is one of Lancashire’s oldest charities.

Established in Preston in 1867, it has been supporting people living with sight loss for more than 150 years.

Today, the charity covers Lancashire and Sefton and supports more than 7,000 people every year.

As well as its main site in Penwortham, Galloway’s is located in 1 Farrington Street, Chorley; 12 Victoria Street, Morecambe, and 22 Wright Street, Southport.

The services offered are in seven key areas:

• Early reach support for newly diagnosed people

• Accessible information, advice and guidance

• Holidays and trips

• Social and community groups

• Audio services, including one of the UK’s largest Talking Newspaper services

• Seven independent living bungalows

• Equipment to enhance daily living

Galloway’s is a registered charity and has to raise £1m this year to maintain its services.

It now needs £50,000 for a new minibus to transport its service users to the centre in Penwortham and to social outings.

The Post has launched a campaign - Gallowheels - in conjunction with Galloway’s to raise £50,000.

To make a donation visit www.galloways.org.uk/gallowheels;

Call: 01772 744148

or

Send a cheque payable to Galloway’s to: Galloway’s Society for the Blind, Howick House, Howick Park Avenue, Penwortham, PR1 0LS.

• Are you holding any fund-raising events to support Galloway’s?

Let us know by emailing natalie.walker1@jpress.co.uk

• Galloway’s is hosting a sight loss conference for anyone needing support at Leyland Civic Centre on November 23, from 10am until 3pm.

To book a place call 01772 744148.

Sight myth busters

Myth: A person who is registered blind has no sight at all.

Fact: Most people who are registered severely sight impaired (blind) have some usable vision.

Myth: People with sight loss cannot read.

Fact: Large print, Braille, audio books and other digital technologies are available to assist people to enjoy reading.

Myth: All blind people read Braille.

Fact: Only a small percentage of people registered severely sight impaired (blind) read Braille.

Myth: Eating carrots will improve your eyesight.

Fact: Carrots are high in Vitamin A, which is important in a balanced diet however, eating carrots or other foods high in Vitamin A will not necessarily improve your vision.

Myth: Blind and partially sighted people are unable to work.

Fact: People with sight loss go on to enjoy a wide variety of careers.

Myth: It is not harmful to look at the sun if you squint or use dark glasses.

Fact: The sun’s ultra-violet light will still damage your eyes. You should never look directly at the sun.

Myth: Blind people develop their other senses to compensate for their sight loss.

Fact: Some blind people may work hard to develop their other senses to compensate for their vision loss however this does not happen automatically.

Myth: You need to speak louder when talking to a blind person.

Fact: Blind people have reduced vision not hearing. Talk to them as you would to anyone else.

Myth: Blind people can always identify you by your voice.

Fact: This is not true and it is always good practice to identify yourself when meeting a blind person.

Myth: Sight loss only affects the elderly.

Fact: Sight loss can affect people of all ages.