Inclusive family sports day at University of Leicester to raise awareness of eye condition

Posted by ap507 at Oct 29, 2015 11:07 AM |
Families invited to take part in inclusive sports activities accessible for people with Nystagmus and visual impairment on Sunday 1 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 29 October 2015 

The University of Leicester will be hosting an event to introduce sports for people with reduced vision and to raise awareness of the eye condition Nystagmus on Sunday 1 November. 

Attendees will be given the opportunity to take part in fun sports such as athletics, dance, cricket, boccia, goalball, football and wacky races – as well as a number of other engaging games and activities.

The event coincides with the 3rd International Nystagmus Awareness Day, which will take place on 4 November, and is held in collaboration with Vista, Action for Blind People and Charnwood Borough Council. 

Qualified disability coaches will hold fun sports sessions to introduce families with Nystagmus to a range of sports adapted for visual impairment.

The event, organised by the University of Leicester’s Ophthalmology Group in the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, will be a chance for both children and adults to find out more about sporting opportunities for the visually impaired with the hope of raising awareness of those with the eye condition nystagmus.

Nystagmus, a condition causing the eyes to move involuntarily, affects approximately two to three in 1,000 people and is the main cause of serious visual impairment among school age children. As an adult it can affect many aspects of the sufferer’s life, from driving to eye contact and job interviews.

Dr Rebecca McLean, Research Associate from the Ophthalmology Group at the University of Leicester based at Leicester Royal Infirmary and organiser of the event said: “Raising awareness for Nystagmus is so important as many people have never heard of the condition. We see adults and children with Nystagmus that attend our clinics that have been given little information previously and are eager to learn as much as possible about what having Nystagmus will mean for them or their child.  Further research is desperately needed in order to further our knowledge about the causes of Nystagmus and to develop new treatments. 

“Increasing awareness means raising the profile of Nystagmus which could in turn help to raise more desperately needed funding for the condition.”

During the event there will also be information available from Nystagmus Network UK, Vista and Action for Blind People, as well as games, a raffle and prizes to be won.

The sports day is one of many worldwide initiatives arranged to promote Wobbly Wednesday, taking place on 4 November, organised by the Nystagmus Network UK. The network provides information, help and support to sufferers of the condition.

Julie Stewart, mother to Scarlett who has Nystagmus, said: “As our daughter grows it is so important to raise awareness of Nystagmus so children and adults alike feel accepted and can flourish in life in whichever path they choose.”

John Sanders, Nystagmus Network information and development manager, added: “Leicester is the biggest research centre for nystagmus in the UK so we’re really delighted that they’ve come up with this fun way of raising awareness of this eye condition.

“It also shows that just because you have Nystagmus, it doesn’t mean you can’t play sports.”

The sports day takes place on Sunday 1 November between 10am – 2pm at the Charles Wilson Sports Hall, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE2 7LX.

An information stand will also be available in the main restaurant at Leicester Royal Infirmary from 10 - 2pm on Wobbly Wednesday, 4 November, for people to come along and talk to eye experts about the condition.

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact Rebecca McLean at rjm19@le.ac.uk

For more information about Nystagmus Network UK please contact John Sanders on john.sanders@nystagmusnet.org

  • The Opthalmology Group is part of the Department of Neuroscience Psychology and Behaviour, and research interests include: neuroophthalmology and paediatric ophthalmology (eye movement disorders and visual development), genetics of oculomotor disorders, motor and sensory abnormalities in amblyopia, pathophysiology of eye movements, especially Nystagmus, and the physiology of normal eye movements.
  • Nystagmus Network was set up in 1984 to support people with Nystagmus and encourage research into the condition. Nystagmus Network is a registered charity (number 803440). Sir James Galway and Steven Reid are patrons of NN.
  • Vista provides support and services to almost 6000 children and adults with sight loss throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. As well as rehabilitation, social groups, befriending and residential services, Vista also provide specialist services for people with learning disabilities, dementia and dual sensory impairment. 

Media Enquiries: Kirsty Wilby, Marketing and Communications on email: kirsty.wilby@vistablind.org.uk

  • Action for Blind People (reg. charity 205913) has been offering vital support for people who are blind and partially sighted for over 150 years. We strive to enable those with visual impairments to lead independent lives by providing tailored information and guidance that helps them understand what it means to be blind or partially sighted. We also offer advice to people who have a visually impaired friend or family member.
  • Charnwood Borough Council has been heavily involved in both inclusive and disability sport throughout the years. This year alone, the Council has been running numerous one-off events and ongoing activities throughout the entire district, including family fun days, inclusive bowls and boccia clubs. In addition, the Local Sports Alliance regularly gives funding to disability-focused projects and has done so for 5 projects in the past 6 months.  For further details email Catherine.Devonshire@charnwood.gov.uk

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