Sight and eye care
Deteriorating sight may seem inevitable, but you should have a check-up with your optician every year. Ask your doctor about eye problems as some conditions can be treated.
NHS Choices - opticians has lists of local opticians who offer NHS services and details of opticians who can visit you if you cannot get out. Older people are entitled to free NHS eye tests.
If you are on Income Support, NHS treatment is free. If you are not, but your income and savings are low you may qualify for free treatment. To apply, call the Benefits Helpline on 0845 122 8690 and request form HC1.
Some levels of sight loss qualify you to be registered as blind or partially sighted. Benefits include advice on dealing with sight loss, special equipment and help claiming financial benefits. To check if you can register, ask your doctor to refer you to an eye specialist.
This can affect older adults and results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field. It can make it difficult, or sometimes impossible, to read or recognise faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. It affects people in different ways and at different rates.
For more information, help and support, use the following link: Macular Disease Society
Phone: 01264 350551
Helpline: 0843 2412041
This affects about two out of every 100 people over 40 in the UK. It's important to have your eyes tested regularly. If left untreated it can cause blindness. However, if it's diagnosed and treated early enough, further damage to your vision can be prevented.
More information visit the following link: Glaucoma pages on the NHS Choices
A cataract is a clouding of part of the eye - vision becomes blurred because the cataract is like a frosted glass. Many people over 60 have some cataract and the vast majority can be treated successfully.
More information about cataracts use the following links RNIB website and the NHS Choices cataracts area on their website.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Outreach Service provides advice and support for people living in the borough who suffer from sight loss.
Phone: 020 7388 1266
Helpline: 0303 123 9999
Fax: 020 7388 2034
If you are having trouble hearing tell your doctor who can arrange a hearing test for you.
For further advice about hearing problems contact the Action on Hearing Loss (formally known as The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID))
Action on Hearing Loss
19 - 23 Featherstone Street
Telephone: 0808 808 0123
Textphone: 0808 808 9000
SMS: 0780 0000360
Bedfordshire Hearing Healthcare has helped more than 8,000 people to hear better and to live fuller lives. They can provide hearing tests for the fitting and repair of NHS hearing aids.
Podiatrists (chiropodists) can help if you have trouble with your feet. They will help if you find it difficult to look after your feet, for example you cannot bend down to cut your toenails. The NHS provides a podiatry service. Demand on this service is high so NHS podiatry care is offered to those who need it most.
To apply for NHS podiatry treatment, please contact your local health centre or ask your doctor who will refer you.
You can find your local health centre on NHS Choices website and more information about foot care.
If you do not qualify for the service, podiatrists can give advice to help you look after your own feet.
Private podiatry treatment is also available. Your doctor may be able to supply a list of local podiatrists. For a list of state registered podiatrists visit the following link:
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
Phone: 0845 450 3720 or 020 7234 8620 (office)
If you have problems with incontinence you are not alone. Many people experience the same sort of problems. Medical help is available - trained staff offer support and advice which can greatly improve your situation or even cure you completely.
There are products and services available that can also help you to cope, such as pads, mattress protectors, wet wipes and lotions.
Ask your GP (family doctor) or district nurse for advice or visit NHS Choices website for further information.
Bedfordshire Continence service provides advice support and treatment for people with bladder and bowel problems. You can be referred for assessment by your GP or other health professional from whom you may be receiving care.
Continence advisors are trained nurses who have undertaken specialist training in continence management. They can access your continence problems and plan a treatment programme for you. Following assessment, your continence advisor may prescribe disposable incontinence pads for you, which will be delivered to your home.
There are also national help lines available to give you advice and support, such as:
- The Continence Foundation on 0207 4046857
- The enuresis resource and information centre on 01179 600401
- Access to toilets when you are out and about
When you are out you may need to use a toilet. It can sometimes help to check in advance where you will be able to find an accessible toilet. The RADAR scheme is a national scheme of locked toilets. Although it is run by a disability organisation, it is available for all people who may need them.