‘More than 1,000 people in Congleton are likely to be suffering from sight loss, where glasses or contact lens can’t bring their sight back to what is considered ‘normal’ according to information given to Congleton Town Councillors and staff attending a visually impaired awareness session hosted by East Cheshire Eye Society and Congleton Lions.
Councillors and staff had the opportunity to learn about the various types of sight loss and try out some of the glasses that simulate that type of vision. Only 4% of people registered as blind or severely sight impaired have no vision. Now the council is keen to hear more from local residents who suffer from sight loss on actions it would like to see the town council take to make it easier for them to communicate with the council or join in activities in Congleton.
A number of quick wins were raised at the session, including using matt laminates, matt paper, greater use of Audio QR codes and plain text formatted documents on the website. Concern was also raised about unexpected items on the pavement which creates issues for people with sight impairment and guide dogs.
Congleton Town Mayor, Cllr Rob Moreton, who attended the session said: “It was an enlightening session. We are fortunate that the East Cheshire Eye Society and Congleton Lions are able to support local residents with sight loss and have a great deal of knowledge about the support available. As a council, we are looking at what we can do to make life easier for our residents who are visually impaired as part of a wider disability-positive movement and are keen for residents to share their experiences with us by calling 01260 270350 ext 1 or emailing email@example.com.”
Residents suffering from sight loss can contact East Cheshire Eye Society on 01625 422602 or www.eastcheshireeyesociety.org.uk The group holds a support group at New Life Church on West Street, Congleton on alternative Wednesdays from 2pm – 4pm and a Café Coffee Club drop-in once a month. The next drop-in will be at the Lion and Swan on Thursday 19October from 2pm -3.30pm. Visually impaired people can also apply to receive the Congleton Talking Newspaper on a weekly basis, which includes extracts from Congleton Chronicle and the Bear Necessities – contact 07592 965600.
Thursday 12 October is World Sight Day which this year is focussing on the importance of eye care at work. With an increasing amount of time staring at screens, people are encouraged to follow the 20: 20: 20 rule of taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away and reduce digital eye strain. Employers are encouraged to make sure they have policies in place to encourage good eye health.