Vision UK 2017 Conference – a sector coming together

19 June 17

written by:

Michele Acton Chief Executive

(more articles)

The sight loss world continues to change. More and more people are living with sight loss, with the numbers set to double to over four million by 2050. Along with the current uncertainty of the political world, continued pressures on our NHS and social services, as well as the implications of Brexit, there are some serious challenges that we in the sight loss sector face today.

Doing more of the same, thinking we are immune to the impact of these changes will not work. Indeed, it will only provide a massive disservice to the very people we are here to serve and support.

Leaders from across the sight loss sector have a responsibility to rise to these challenges, as well as seek out any opportunities. That is why, last weeks Vision UK’s 2017 conference, with the coming together of the sector, was not only extremely timely, but provided a crucial forum to discuss how, by working together, we can best meet the needs of those with sight loss – for today and tomorrow.

The theme of the conference was about shaping futures and chaired by Keith Valentine, the recently appointed chief executive of Vision UK. Throughout the conference it was pleasing to hear the sector speaking in one voice about the need to improve care and support, alongside the importance of eye research. Taking a holistic view in the fight against sight loss will only strengthen our voice and importantly our response to those who need our support.

During the conference, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to showcase Fight for Sight’s partnership with Judith Potts from Esme’s Umbrella about how we are raising funds for medical research into Charles Bonnet Syndrome and our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation also spoke about what we can learn from different sectors.

Throughout the conference there was a huge amount of energy and excitement about what we could do together as a sector. Turning words into actions and commitments will be a key task. But it is only by working together that we will be able to create a vibrant social movement for change raising the profile of eye research - putting people with sight loss first and foremost.