By JACKIE CLAUSEN
For Diabetes Awareness Month, Dr Davies Optomerists is raising awareness to prevent diabetes-related blindness and eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
All these conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness, which in many cases is irreversible. Early detection and treatment, however, can go a long way to preventing vision loss.
Over the past two weekends, Dr Davies’ team has completed eye exams and screenings on over 60 Kingswood College support staff. More than half needed glasses or medical intervention to prevent loss of sight, highlighting the importance of eye exams, particularly (but not only) for people with diabetes.
Kingswood College head Leon Grove said, “Kingswood College prides itself in being a family school, so it is important to us that we acknowledge all members of our greater family. Our support staff are essential in creating a happy and healthy school environment for our children to grow and thrive.
“We would like to thank our music department and Afrikaans teacher Tanya Ackerman and the pupils in her ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ club who helped raise some of the funding to support this initiative and make eye care accessible to people within our community who could not afford it.”
The Dr Davies Optometric team was delighted with the initiative. Business manager Sbusi Mashaya thanked Kingswood College for taking the lead. “If we can encourage other employers and schools across the city to do the same, it will go a long way towards eradicating preventable blindness. This will leave a much smaller part of the community to whom we still need to make eye care accessible.”
More than half of those tested last weekend required care, either with spectacles or, in some cases, medical/surgical management, highlighting the importance of having regular eye exams.
Dr Trevor Davies said there were sadly still people who are unemployed or not working for institutions such as Kingswood who have never been able to access this type of care.
“This is the focus of the recently launched Eiohn Hayes Foundation, the fundraising arm for our clinic practice,” Davies said. “My dream is to see preventable blindness eradicated across the city. It is devastating that people lose their sight where it could have been prevented.”