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Support group seeks help over increasing visual impairment in Redbridge
A large number of people with serious eyesight problems are not seeking help which could transform their lives, it is claimed.
Redbridge has the fourth highest number of blind and severely visually impaired people in London, according to research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
But only one in up to five people in the borough with serious problems affecting their everyday lives are registered as needing help.
RNIB also predict that the number of people needing support could rise from 2,000 today to 7,600 by 2020.
Fadeia Hossian, who is registered blind, founded the Redbridge Vision Strategy Group (RSVG) to raise awareness of the problem.
She said the large number of ethnic minority groups in the borough means language can be a barrier to seeking support and treatment.
Ms Hossain is calling on the council to improve services, while reaching out to sufferers who may be isolated.
It is estimated that 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided through improved education and screening.
“Visual impairment needs more public awareness. It is not enough that we are equal to other members of the public – services need to provide more in order to make that the case,” Ms Hossain said.
“In particular, there are a lot of ethnic minority groups in Redbridge who are not receiving the help they need because of a huge language barrier – it is issues like this which need to be addressed.”
Ms Hossian formed RVSG with the help of the Thomas Pocklington Trust after 70 residents attended a consultation meeting last year to give their views on targeted services.
“Many attendees indicated that it was the first time they had been given the opportunity to contribute their views and experiences of living with a visual impairment,” she added.
Loxford Councillor Filly Maravala, said: “It is very important that we raise awareness of what visually impaired people have to go through.
“The fact that visually impaired members of society are not being provided with the services they need will have a huge impact on the community.”
The Guardian is awaiting comments from Redbridge Council and the NHS.