Healthy Eyes campaign reaches 30,000 people in Ireland

This year’s Healthy Eyes awareness week was supported by optical practices across Ireland, charities and optical bodies, including FODO Ireland – who all helped to spread the positive eye health message about regular sight testing to thousands of people in in Ireland.

Highlights this year include Minister of Health Leo Varadkar signing up to the campaign and press coverage exceeding previous years.

Last week, the Healthy Eyes social media campaign alone had a reach in excess of 30,000 ‘opportunities to see’ the campaign.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO Ireland said, “Community optical practice in Ireland is changing rapidly to meet needs .  The Healthy Eyes campaign is an important way of  reaching  patients, especially young people,  and generating  discussions through news stories, social media posts and on the radio.

“It is thanks to the support of FODO Ireland members, and our partners the AOI and IADO, together with Minister Varadker and the HSE, that we were able to reach out to so many people  with the Healthy Eyes message.”

5 Tips for Looking After Your Eyes This Year

An eye exam is not just a way to keep you seeing at your best, but a vital health check which can detect a wide range of health conditions.

During this week’s Healthy Eyes Awareness Week (18 – 24 January) people have been encouraged to pledge to have regular eye exams as part of a healthy lifestyle. Members of the public, opticians and the Health Minister Leo Varadkar have all joined in to show their support.  

Research shows that only 20% of people are aware of the eye diseases they might be susceptible to. Many eye diseases have no obvious symptoms in their early stages and early detection is important to prevent avoidable sight loss.

But how do you know if it’s time to get your eyes examined?

Kevin Harrington, optometrist and member of The Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) Ireland, has provided top tips on how to take better care of your eye health.

I can see fine and my eyes don’t hurt so why do I need an eye test?

An eye test is not just to determine if you need glasses or contact lenses, it is a vital health check. Many eye conditions do not show any signs or symptoms in the early stages. Their early detection can lead to the prevention of avoidable sight loss.

How often do I need an eye test?

You should have an eye test every 2 years, unless you become aware of problems or if otherwise advised by your optician.

What should I do if I notice a change in my sight?

If you notice any changes in your vision or in the appearance of your eyes or you experience any pain or discomfort in your eyes, you should see your optician.

What else can I do to look after my eyes?

Look after your health – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and lack of exercise can increase your risk of developing an eye disease.

Do my children need regular eye tests?

Yes, children do most of their learning through what they see. Poor vision can cause problems for them in how and what they learn.

Leo Varadkar tweets about Healthy Eyes campaign

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, has backed Healthy Eyes Awareness Week (18-24 January), tweeting a picture of himself holding up his ‘eye pledge’.

LeoHe shared his picture with thousands of followers to help raise awareness of eye health and the importance of regular eye exams as part of a healthy lifestyle.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO Ireland, one of the optical bodies co-ordinating the initiative, said, ”We are delighted to have the support of Leo Varadkar, who clearly recognises the importance of regular eye exams to keep your vision sharp and eyes free from avoidable diseases.

“Our message to everyone is that eye exams should be part of your regular health routine and are an important way to protect your sight.”  

As part of the campaign people are encouraged to take pictures of themselves holding the ‘eye pledge’ leaflet – and share on social media using the hashtag #eyepledge.

The ‘Healthy Eyes’ campaign is backed by three optical bodies;The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) , The Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) Ireland and The Irish Association of Dispensing Opticians (IADO).

Follow the Healthy Eyes campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

1 in 5 people in Ireland have never had an eye exam

Research shows that sight is the sense people fear losing the most and yet most don’t consider an eye test to be a core part of their health routine.

21% of the population have never had a sight test at all, rising to 36% of those under the age of 35. 

Now, as part of Healthy Eyes Awareness Week 18 -24 January, eye health experts are urging people to take action and commit to having regular eye exams as part of a healthy lifestyle.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO Ireland said, “An eye exam is a vital health check which can detect a range of health conditions for which you experience no symptoms and where early detection can prevent sight loss.

“These conditions can only be prevented if they are detected early and the key to that are regular eye exams.”

Peter Coleman, Chief Executive of AOI said, “We want to remind people during the Healthy Eyes campaign that even if you think your eyesight is good, you only know for sure if you get your eyes tested regularly.”

Healthy Eyes Awareness Week is an opportunity for people to pledge their commitment to have an eye exam and encourages a positive attitude to all aspects of eye health.

As part of the campaign people are encouraged to take pictures of themselves holding the ‘eye pledge’ leaflet –  and share on social media using the hashtag #eyepledge.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact Liz Broad, FODO Ireland Communications Officer elizabeth@fodo.com or Peter Coleman, Chief Executive of The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) peter@aoi.ie  

Optical bodies join forces to support ‘eye pledge’ challenge

A NEW campaign initiative will be launched in January to urge the public to have a sight test as part of their New Year’s resolution.

The initiative, which is part of the Healthy Eyes Awareness Week (18-24 January 2016), urges the public to pledge their commitment to have an eye exam and encourages a positive attitude to all aspects of eye health.

Raising awareness of the importance of regular eye exams comes as a recent survey* shows over half of people in Ireland have not had an eye exam in the last two years, the recommended interval between eye exams. 

The ‘Healthy Eyes’ campaign is backed by three optical bodies; The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) The Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO) Ireland and The Irish Association of Dispensing Opticians (IADO).

Chair of FODO Ireland’s Executive, Julian Carey, said “Having a regular eye exam is an important routine health check, just like going to the dentist.

“At this time of year, many of us resolve to improve our lifestyle, yet few of us resolve to book an eye exam. After all, eye health is part of a healthy lifestyle.”

As part of the campaign, the public are encouraged to take pictures of themselves holding the ‘eye pledge’ leaflet – available to download from the Healthy Eyes website – and share on social media using the hashtag #eyepledge. They can also sign the ‘eye pledge’ on the website.