Specsavers Abbey Centre supports Deaf Association

7th July 2021

Newtownabbey Specsavers has partnered with the British Deaf Association Northern Ireland to deliver an eye health members’ workshop as well as providing eye vouchers to help the charity raise much needed funds during 2021.

Optometry director Tony McGinn, from the Abbey Centre based opticians and audiologists, led an online information and Q&A session to assist local people from the Deaf Community process the full scope of services and eye examinations provided by local opticians.

British Deaf Association NI locally is part of UK wide body the BDA (British Deaf Association) and looks after access, equality and inclusion issues for Deaf people as well as providing a range of advice and information services.

Locally based BDA Access and Inclusion Officer Susan Campbell explains why she contacted Tony McGinn on behalf of members:

‘Tony delivered a very successful workshop which was hugely beneficial to our Deaf community. What most people do not understand is that for Sign Language users, Signing is their first or preferred language and English is often a second or even third language. Northern Ireland has two sign languages Irish and British sign language.

‘I often compare it to how people with full hearing would feel if they had to understand and process health care information with only a basic GCSE understanding of a language such as French. It would be challenging to say the least. But this is what is expected of Deaf people unless they can gain access in their own language – Sign Language.

‘With Tony providing his eye care information session, our members have been able to get clear and easy access to information that their hearing peers would take for granted. Everyone who attended has gained a broad understanding of how to look after their eyes as well as the importance of eye care and getting regular eye examinations.

‘We’d also like to thank Tony for the donation of two Specsavers eyecare vouchers which we will put to good use later this year in a raffle as part of our ongoing fundraising activities for the charity.’

Tony McGinn says, ‘It was a pleasure taking part in such a special eye health education workshop and we were able to cover all aspects of optical care from what an eye examination covers such as measuring eye pressure and field of vision checks to how OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scanning operates and its full benefits. I also outlined how an eye test can indicate important health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.’

Pictured: Enjoying the eye health by Zoom session led by Abbey Centre Specsavers optometry director Tony McGinn are members of the BDA Advocacy team, Susan Campbell, Alice Johnston, Naomi Fujitani and Majella McAteer.