Test your eyesight using Falkirk’s landmark Steeple

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People of all ages are being encouraged to ensure their vision is perfect by taking an eye test using Falkirk’s Steeple as a guide.

This week See Hear Falkirk launched Scotland’s first Urban Eye Test with special vinyl panels placed at an optimum distance from the landmark and anyone who fails to be able to clearly tell the time on the clock encouraged to go for an NHS-funded eye test.

Local singer Barbara Bryceland was on hand to offer her support to the initiative, while Falkirk MP John McNally praised those behind it.

He said: “Congratulations to Forth Valley Sensory Centre, their See Hear partners, and Falkirk Delivers for launching this novel initiative to capture attention and encourage local people to take their eye health seriously and go along for an eye test.”

Funding for the project came from the Scottish Government’s See Hear Strategy and supported by Optometry Scotland, which aims to advance world class eye care in Scotland.

David Quigley, chairman of Optometry Scotland, said: “We think that this is an easy and fun way for the people of Falkirk to start thinking more about their vision and preventive care for this vital sense which is a significant factor in retaining quality of life as we age.

“We tend to lead busy lives and too often good eye health takes a backseat, allowing vision to gradually deteriorate and sometimes for underlying issues to go undetected.

“The Urban Eye Test in Falkirk will allow participants to quickly assess their eyesight and then get advice on how to manage it, including where to book an eye examination.”

The floor panel will point participants towards useful online information – including how regular checks can be vital for identifying underlying health and sight-threatening conditions – while also encouraging local uptake of the universally available NHS-funded eye examination.

There are two Urban Eye sites in Falkirk Town Centre facing The Steeple from different directions and one at Forth Valley Sensory Centre, Camelon.

Jacquie Winning, manager of the Sensory Centre, said: “Early discovery and treatment of eye conditions can make a huge impact. The number of people with age-related sight loss in Scotland is expected to rise significantly over the next few years and losing your sight, or hearing, can have a dramatic impact on overall wellbeing.

“It is fantastic that Falkirk, which has a unique sight and hearing loss facility in the shape of our Centre, is once again leading the way in community eye health.”

Alex Fleming, Falkirk Delivers manager, said: “Falkirk has always had a history of innovation and we have worked hard to make our town more accessible to people with sight loss and any form of disability. For that reason, when we heard about the Urban Eye Test plan, we were delighted to be able to help.”

Participants will be encouraged to share their Urban Eye Test experience via social media with the hashtag #UrbanEyeTest.

Optometry Scotland hope to roll out the Urban Eye Test to other communities across the country.