Free blood pressure checks boost stroke awareness

Vision Express Know Your Blood Pressure campaign SUS-160224-151904001

Vision Express Know Your Blood Pressure campaign SUS-160224-151904001

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Eleven people were advised to visit their GP, three urgently, following an event at Vison Express Eastbourne, offering free blood pressure checks.

Held in partnership with the Stroke Association, the Know Your Blood Pressure event last month raised awareness of stroke and its impact on vision.

Statistics show that almost 5,000 people, 2.58 per cent of the Eastbourne NHS catchment area population, are survivors of stroke.

Up to 60 per cent of people will experience visual problems following a stroke, yet one in three are unaware that sight loss could be a problem, or that treatment and support is available. Via an eye test, Vision Express optometrists can identify indicators of increased blood pressure, which is the single biggest risk factor for stroke.

During the event, held at the Arndale Centre, Stroke Association volunteers spoke to visitors about the warning signs of stroke, and how simple lifestyle changes can help reduce blood pressure to a normal level.

Dr Dale Webb, director of research and information at the Stroke Association, said, “We all value our sight; it’s the sense most people fear losing more than any other. Improved vision care for stroke survivors would help patients to regain mobility and independence, return to the workplace and make their best recovery possible following a stroke.”

Adam Blackburn, store manager at Vision Express Eastbourne, added, “The event has been really well received by the general public and we’ve taken a fantastic number of blood pressures.

“Everyone was really grateful for the opportunity to have their blood pressure taken and listen to some important advice.

“Early symptoms associated with stroke can include loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes, and many people don’t realise the breadth of health conditions we can be identify through an eye test.

It is vital to have a routine exam at least every two years and to see an optometrist straight away if you experience any issues with your sight.”

The campaign focuses on high blood pressure because it is a contributing factor to 54 per cent of strokes.

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