London Vision’s has recently been appointed Co-Chair, alongside Adam Mapani of Moorfields Eye Hospital, of the newly formed BAME Vision Committee. The new role sits alongside Bhavini’s existing commitments as an ambassador for Retina UK (she is also Chair of the Retina UK London peer support group), and as a Trustee for Transport for All. Bhavini works extensively to raise awareness of Retinitis Pigmentosa (the condition she has) and blindness and sight loss in her own Asian and wider communities.
Bhavini brings her own lived experience to all of her roles and is always keen to amplify the voices of others in the BAME community, especially around sight loss. She recently launched her own podcast, wherein she shares her own experiences of sight loss, as well as of other people in the BAME community.
The BAME Vision Committee aims to reach and engage with local communities from BAME backgrounds to highlight the importance of looking after your eyes, attending appointments, and taking precautions to maintain eye health. The theme of this year’s National Eye Health Week is General Eye Health, and their messaging focusses on the everyday steps people can take to maintain their health, and in turn, their eyesight. In response, the BAME Vision Committee have put together a document aimed at people from a BAME background, focusing on general eye health and conditions that disproportionately affect BAME people.
Illnesses such as diabetes are more prevalent in BAME communities in the UK, and when improperly managed, diabetes can lead to sight-threatening conditions such as diabetic retinopathy. A key National Eye Health Week message promotes the importance of having regular eye examinations – did you know that glaucoma, high and low blood pressure can be picked up by your optometrist in an eye exam? These conditions can be managed, or even avoided if picked up early enough. That is why it is so crucial to have regular eye examinations – every two years, unless advised differently by your optometrist.
The BAME Vision Committee’s document for National Eye Health Week acknowledges that the prevalence of diabetes, glaucoma, high and low blood pressure is higher in BAME communities. The document outlines the general eye health guidance aimed at people from BAME background, and contains information about exercise, alcohol, smoking and attending eye health appointments in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
For more information about anything relating to eye health, sight loss, support or services then please do get in touch with Bhavini Makwana on: firstname.lastname@example.org