This week is National Eye Health Week (NEHW) (24 to 30 September) and it promotes the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests. Sight is the sense we fear of losing the most, and many of us still don’t know how to look after our eyesight – National Eye Health Week aims are to change that.

Regular eye tests are vital for your health and wellbeing because the tests can pick up early signs of eye conditions including cataracts and glaucoma before you're aware of any symptoms – many of which can be treated if found early enough.

Why vision matters

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), are campaigning to urge Britain to take their eye health seriously and some of their research statistics are mind-blowing.

25 percent of people are not having an eye test every two years as recommended by the College of Optometrists, more than 80 percent of people are not aware that an optician can spot the early signs of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK and shockingly a quarter of people who spend more than £50 a year on shoes would not be prepared to pay anything at all for an eye test.

Eye tests save lives

We spoke to one lucky Londoner who praises his local Specsavers opticians in Putney, London, for identifying a condition that could have permanently damaged his vision. Entrepreneur Julian Sturdy-Morton director of A Bit of TLC – a meet-up club that brings like-minded people together, began seeing shapes in his eyes, after two days he began to worry it was something more sinister and booked in for an eye test.

After his eye test, the optician became concerned about a tear in Julian right eye and immediately had to refer him to the capital's Moorfields Eye Hospital.

An urgent appointment was made for him at the hospital on the same day, and Julian was informed of the tear in his eye was in danger of becoming a detached retina.

He was then rushed in urgent laser surgery treatment. While the sight in his right eye has deteriorated slightly since the surgery, Julian, 65 says that "It could have been a lot worse without the help of his optician. The hospital told me, there was a great danger that I could have lost my vision in one eye," says Julian.

Specsavers store director at the Putney branch Sukveer Orjela said, "Sight tests are far more than helping someone the right pair of glasses or contact lenses – they are also be used to spot life-threatening illnesses such as Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease. Regular eye tests, particularly in young children and the over 65s are vital."

Specsavers and charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) recently published research that revealed one in five people will suffer sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable. The stats also divulge that 300 people in the UK are living with sight loss on a daily basis."

For more information on National Eye Health Week visit the vision matters website.