Scotland’s leading sight loss charity is aiming to stress the vital importance of regular eye check-ups at the Young Minority Ethnic Awards Scotland 2010 ceremony on Thursday 26th August 2010 at Dundee’s Caird Hall.
The awards highlight the value of those young people from ethnic backgrounds who have spread inspiration or have contributed to life within their community. The awards further aim to acknowledge, encourage, reward and – most importantly – promote the positive achievements of young Scots from minority ethnic backgrounds aged between 14 – 28 years.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland will be staffing an awareness-raising initiative at the event to highlight the fact that people from some ethnic minority groups may be more vulnerable to sight-threatening conditions.
Some forms of glaucoma are three times more prevalent among people of Afro-Caribbean and Chinese descent and can often be more severe. Diabetic retinopathy is now the leading cause of blindness among Scots of working-age. Someone with diabetes has a 10 – 20 times greater chance of being registered blind. But people of South Asian origin are six times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than Caucasians. It is more common in individuals of Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi descent who make up a sizable minority in Glasgow and often affects young to middle-aged people.
Yet many of those groups most at risk of sight loss are least likely to access eye-care services. The diseases can appear up to 15 years earlier and are often more aggressive, leaving people with significant sight loss earlier in life.
RNIB Scotland is running a project in Glasgow to target the city’s ethnic minority communities with the eye-health message. Launched in 2008, the project has examined what barriers are preventing uptake of eye-care services. It is being piloted in Glasgow because the city’s ethnic minority population is three times the national average.
Project Development Officer, Gozie Joe Adigwe, said: “As well as informing people how to make the right health choices, the project has explored the best way to communicate with different ethnic groups. Working in partnership has been a vital component as well as sharing good practice and maintaining ownership of the project’s direction and outcomes.”
In June, RNIB Scotland published a report that warned that the total number of Scots with sight loss could double to almost 400,000 by 2030 if not diagnosed and treated early. The charity has estimated the total cost to the public sector to be £194m a year. But this cost could increase significantly due to the elderly population set to rise by 62 per cent over the next two decades.
Commenting on the awards, Yasmin Mahmood, Campaign Manager at Oceanic Consulting said: “The Young Minority Ethnic Awards Scotland 2010 ceremony is a platform for the dynamic and inspirational minority ethnic youth of Scotland, showcasing their successes and achievements. We hope that, once again, the event will be a success.”