Spot potential problems before they become an issue

Our eyes are a window into our well-being. They act as a barometer for our wider health and give professionals the chance to spot potential problems before they become an issue. By playing such a key role in gauging our overall health, it’s imperative that eye care professionals are aware of just how important the eye is in diagnosing diseases and enabling efficient treatment.

A dedicated Health and Lifestyle stream at Optrafair Exchange will allow delegates to hear first-hand the real eyecare issues experienced by some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Elaine Styles, chair of trustees at Vision Care for Homeless People, will look at ways of resolving the existing health inequalities experienced by homeless and vulnerable people.

She said: “Homeless and other vulnerable people have an increased prevalence of both short and long-term illness compared to the general population. Homeless people are less likely to access healthcare early enough and are more likely to attend A&E or be admitted to hospital.

“They have more eye problems than the general population and are exposed to risk factors such as poor nutrition, trauma, smoking, drug abuse and infections. Many may feel uncomfortable in community practice as they don’t always have an address to give.

“These people need support, including optometric care, at a time of crisis in their lives. There is a need for new national healthcare pathways to meet the ocular health and refractive needs of homeless people.”

The session will give delegates the opportunity to understand the difficulties that a person experiencing homelessness faces with accessing eye care and how to respond more effectively to meet their concerns.

Visual impairment can affect anyone in society, from children to pensioners, from those without work to high-flyers earning millions.

Dan Williams, the founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy, will give an exclusive insight into life with a visual impairment.

Registered blind himself, Dan will use his own experience to give a unique perspective on just how challenging it can be to live with limited sight.

His talk ‘Seeing Beyond The Eyes – An Introduction to Visual Impairment’ will discuss the principle causes of sight loss in children, adults and the elderly and the associated symptoms in the initial and advanced stages.

It will look at the problems people with a visual impairment experience even when visiting eye care practitioners and consider what reasonable adjustments should be made to better serve such patients.

Register for this year’s Optrafair Exchange, being held at the NEC in Birmingham from March 30 to April 1.

Optrafair is brought to you by the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians and MA Exhibitions, combining some of the most respected organisations serving the optical market.


The FMOs mission is to provide a national platform for optical manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and business service providers to communicate, educate and innovate. FMO plays a key role in educating the public about the importance of looking after their sight and having regular eye examinations.

MA Exhibitions

Optrafair is organised by MA Exhibitions (MAX), an award-winning exhibition business. MAX organises more than 200 events annually, from small, highly focussed seminars to large-scale events. Within MAX’s portfolio there are 14 large-scale events, spread across sectors including electronics, manufacturing, engineering, communications, education, healthcare and print.