As chairman of National Eye Health Week, David Cartwright knows the importance of regular eye tests. However, Cartwright is on a mission to make sure that the public understands the crucial importance of eye examinations too.

Next week marks the start of the latest edition of NEHW in which local practices from across the UK will promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.

The campaign, which begins next Monday and runs until September 24, will involve several leading opticians of which some, such as Vision Express, will be offering free eye tests to members of the public.

Do you believe that National Eye Health Week will encourage more people to get their eyes tested?

‘Absolutely. That is one of the mains aims of it – to use innovative kinds of ways to attack eye disease and to try and give people the tools to educate people across a wide range or the organisation who use our tools.’

How can opticians and optometrists who have not signed up to this year’s event get involved?

‘They should have a look on our website and see what activities are going on in their local area. There are also some downloadable materials on the website which people are very, very welcome to use. It may be, for instance, that a local practice is doing something [and would] very much welcome other optometrists to get involved.’

Will NEHW 2017 have the same level of success as last year?

‘Yes, we are very confident. We stick to a tried and tested formula but add some things on each week. For example, we’ve got our resource packs which contain posters, leaflets, flyers, recipe cards, all those sorts of things. This week will be bigger and better than last year and the year before that.’

Why are eye tests so important?

‘Sight is surely our most precious sense and we know that early signs of eye damage are detected in an eye examination. So, it’s important to have regular eye examinations to identify early signs of eye disease, so people don’t lose their sight.’

What do you think is the biggest problem threatening eye health today?

‘I think it’s probably a lack of awareness of the importance of eye examinations and the fact that we need to identify any visual problems as early as possible. Whereas people are well tuned into getting their teeth done on a regular basis, people do seem to neglect their eyesight.’

To take part in National Eye Health Week visit www.visionmatters.org.uk