Your Health

In association with Sligo Today

Eye exams ‘as essential as a regular trip to the dentist’

Added: 11/01/18 : 12:27:32

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 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.

INMO launches paediatric trolley watch

Added: 15/01/18 : 15:12:03

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have launched an additional element to their existing Trolley and Ward Watch count. From today, Monday January 15, the INMO will now count and publish trolley figures for Ireland’s Children’s hospitals. These hospitals are; Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin, National Children's Hospital Tallaght, Children's University Hospital Temple Street.

If Children are on trolleys in any of the regional hospitals this will also be recorded.

It is unfortunate that children are now regularly being admitted for hospital care without an inpatient bed. The presence of trolleys in paediatric hospitals is a new phenomenon and the INMO Children’s’ Nurses Section highlighted that these trolleys numbers have not previously been included in the count. The INMO Executive Council, at their October meeting, agreed to launch a Paediatric Trolley Watch count. The INMO have been monitoring the number of children on trolleys since November 2017.

The first two weeks of January 2018 has seen 73 of children on trolleys in the three paediatric hospitals.

Speaking today, INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “The negative outcome for patients arising from long trolley waits is proven and accepted.  Exposing children to extended periods in an emergency department is unsatisfactory on many levels not least of which is the possible exposure to traumatic events.  All systems, processes and procedures must aim to avoid unnecessary waiting times in EDs as a matter of urgency.”

Catherine Sheridan INMO Executive Council member and Children’s’ nurse said: “Attending hospital is a fearful and anxious experience for children and their families, this can and must be kept to an absolute minimum.  It is simply not acceptable to us, that environments that are totally unsuitable are added to this anxiety and fear.”

INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly said: “It is vital that this Union puts the health and safety and timely care of all patients, particularly those most vulnerable in our society under to spotlight so as to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to provide safe, effective quality care.  Therefore, is has been necessary to bring attention to this unfortunate development by expanding the Trolley Watch figures to include children.  It is something we hoped would never arise and the sooner such practice ceases the better from the INMO point of view.” 

The INMO Trolley Watch counts the number of patients for whom a decision to admit has been made, but who are still waiting for a bed at 8am.  INMO Ward Watch records those patients moved to wards but still waiting for a bed.