A Good Eye-dea

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Eyesight is a serious issue for many Tasmanians, says Optometry Tasmania’s Geoff Squibb.

Optometry Tasmania is providing free eyesight screenings this weekend at Agfest.

Optometrist Geoff Squibb said the aim is to provide vision tests for rural and regional Tasmanians who may be unlikely to get a screening otherwise. 

“It’s our best opportunity to make contact with a lot of those people that we normally wouldn’t,” said Mr Squibb.

The screenings are particularly targeted at older patrons and are being performed by volunteer optometrists.

People over forty years of age are advised to get their eyes tested every two years, or more regularly if they have a family history of diabetes or glaucoma, Mr Squibb said.

The screenings provided at Agfest include tests for visual acuity and colour blindness, as well as more serious issues such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

While the visual acuity screenings provided at Agfest are a good way to pick up on visual issues, Mr Squibb advised patrons to visit their local optometrist if they have an issue.

“If the screenings pick up a problem, we suggest that they go and see an optometrist in their normal office where they can get a full test.”

He reinforced the importance of getting regular eye tests in the interests of safety.

“[It’s] surprising the number of people who haven’t had an eye test in years. I think that last year we had 16 people that called in and failed the visual acuity test. Legally, they shouldn’t have been driving, and they were driving home.”

The screening process at last year’s Agfest event also picked up several early cases of glaucoma and macular degeneration, which meant they were able to get the treatment they needed.

Optometry Tasmania is providing free screenings at Stall 909 on Ninth Avenue.