Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson visited the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s futuristic sight loss simulator to experience first-hand common sight loss conditions and find out how to help her constituents take care of their sight.

RNIB use a specially designed pod that simulates sight threatening conditions to highlight the importance of regular eye tests and the need to detect and treat conditions at an early stage. They are also pressing local authorities to make eye health a priority.

Currently there are almost two million people with sight loss in the UK and it is predicted that by 2050 this will double to nearly four million. That could mean around 6,000 people in the Houghton and Sunderland South constituency alone. However, up to 50 per cent of sight loss conditions could be avoided if detected and treated early enough.

Commenting after her visit, Bridget Phillipson MP said: “Many people take their sight for granted, and often assume that sight loss is an inevitable consequence of ageing when it’s not. I was surprised to learn that up to 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided.”

“There are actually many things people can do to protect their vision. I urge people to have eye checks at least every two years because it is essential in detecting sight conditions while they are still treatable.”

For more information about the RNIB pod tour visit

RNIB tips for healthy eyes
. Have a regular eye test at an optometrist’s. Early detection means more chance of successful treatment.
. Don’t smoke. Smoking greatly increases the risk of certain eye conditions.
. Eat healthily and keep trim. Include lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet to maintain eye health. Obesity is linked to diabetes and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
. Always wear sunglasses with a UV filter.
. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and fine particles.

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