Healthy Eyes Awareness Week 2018, January 15 – 21, 2018

Healthy Eyes Awareness Week 2018, January 15 – 21, 2018

Monday 15 January 2018

Eye exams ‘as essential as a regular trip to the dentist’  – Public encouraged to have eye exam every two years

Having an eye test at least every two years is as essential as regular trips to the Dentist, say optical experts.

Adults and their children should ‘pledge to have an eye test’ every two years to ensure they protect their vision as part of their normal health routine.

That’s the message of the Healthy Eyes campaign which takes place this week, led by the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) and the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) Ireland.

Healthy Eyes encourages everyone who has not had their eyes checked in the past two years to visit their local optical practice for an examination. Information and promotions will be available across the country this week through local Optometrists and Opticians (Monday 15 January – Sunday 21 January).

To support Healthy Eyes Awareness Week, the AOI and FODO Ireland are encouraging people to post a photograph of themselves on social media using the hashtag #EyePledge and holding the Healthy Eyes pledge card, which can be downloaded here.

Further information and additional electronic resources can be found on the Healthy Eyes website at www.health-eyes.ie and via the campaign’s Twitter page @healthyeyes2018.

AOI Chief Executive Officer, Sean McCrave, said:

“Having an eye test at least once every two years is just as essential as a regular trip to the dentist to check that you or your children are in good health. An eye exam is not just to determine if you need glasses or contact lenses, it is a vital health check that can lead to the prevention of serious eye conditions.

“There is an increasing prevalence of sight-related problems due to an ageing population, and what is most important is early diagnosis. An Optometrist is ideally-placed to provide the care which people need, be it reassurance, fitting glasses or contact lenses, treatment of routine conditions, or monitoring of an existing condition.”

FODO Ireland Executive Chair, Garvan Mulligan, said:

“Our research shows that over half of people in Ireland have not had an eye exam in the last two years, which is the recommended period between check-ups. If at any stage people notice changes in the appearance of the eye, pain or discomfort they should see their local optical practice without delay. Children should also have an eye exam at least once every two years. Poor vision impacts on children’s learning in school, but this can be easily avoided through timely diagnosis.”

It was estimated that in 2010, 224,832 people in Ireland were suffering from visual impairment and this is expected rise to 271,996 by 2020 – a 21% increase. The economic cost of blindness and visual impairment in the Republic of Ireland was estimated at €2.1bn in 2010 and is expected to rise to €2.7bn by 2020, and yet 50% of visual impairment can be corrected if diagnosed and treated promptly.
– ENDS –

Notes to editors

Members of the AOI and FODO Ireland are working together through Health Eyes Awareness Week (Healthy Eyes) to raise awareness of the importance of eye exams as a vital health check for everyone.

The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) represents the profession of Optometry in Ireland, with approximately 600 members. www.aoi.ie

The Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) Ireland represents eye care providers and registered opticians in business in the Republic of Ireland. www.fodo.com/ireland

Media / Contact Information:

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications / Association of Optometrists: 086 317 9731.

James Turner, FODO Ireland Communications Officer: 0044 207 2985 125, james@fodo.com

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.