Updated: 11/01/18 : 12:27:32
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Eye exams ‘as essential as a regular trip to the dentist’

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 leaning 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.