The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is partnering with eye research charity Fight for Sight to promote the importance of regular sight tests in a new TV advert and public awareness campaign launching 3 October.
The Celebrate your sight TV advert, which features a voiceover by presenter and author, Konnie Huq, will be promoted on Sky Adsmart across 250 postcode districts and ITV Hub nationally from 5 October in Scotland, and from 12 October in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
Ms Huq said she was delighted to be part of the project: “Being a presenter and author, my eyesight has always been so important to me and I’ve prioritised regular sight tests, not just for good vision, but for my overall eye health. The statistic that there are over a million people in the UK living with avoidable sight loss is shocking. We need to spread the message of the importance regular sight tests for all.”
Vicky Vine, Communications Director at the AOP, says the campaign aims to encourage a shift in public thinking about eye health, moving from a reactive to a pro-active mindset: “The requirement was to create a positive public eye health awareness campaign, and the challenge was to make people actually start thinking more about their eye health. If asked the question, 'which sense would you most fear losing?', people respond overwhelmingly with ‘sight’, and yet people rarely consider their eye health until they perceive that they have a problem, in some cases that can be too late.”
The campaign has been created in partnership with Fight for Sight. Dr Neil Ebenezer, Director of Research, Policy and Innovation at Fight for Sight, said “It’s so important that people go for an eye test at least every two years which is why we’re part of this campaign. Our figures show that there are over one million people living with sight loss that could be avoided with the right specialist support. Our recent research with YouGov also found that three in ten people are not getting their eyes tested regularly and that the main reason given is that they think they can see fine. Even if your vision is currently not affected, it’s still really important to get your eyes tested as a test can pick up certain eye conditions at an early stage, allowing you to get the treatment you need. It may also be possible to pick up on early stages of other conditions not directly related to sight.”
Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, sister of Konnie, also supported the campaign, saying: “I’ve previously campaigned on the importance of regular sight tests for children, so I was very pleased to hear that Konnie is involved in the AOP’s Celebrate your sight campaign. A sight test every two years, or more if your optometrist recommends it, is something we need to really drum home. There’s an opticians practice on almost every High Street and many people have access to NHS-funded sight tests. It would be superb if the message became as ingrained as regular dental checks. In this day and age, no one should be needlessly losing their sight.”
More information on the campaign and downloadable resources can be found at www.aop.org.uk/celebrate.
Hi-res images are available via this Dropbox folder.
For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7549 2040.
Notes to Editors
Association of Optometrists
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk/celebrate
Fight for Sight
Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. The charity currently has an investment of £8m in 160 research projects at 49 different universities and hospitals across the UK.
The organisation’s research covers both common and rare eye diseases and conditions including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, inherited eye diseases and those linked to other conditions like stroke and diabetes.
Over the course of Fight for Sight’s history the charity’s achievements include:
- Funding research leading to the world’s first clinical trial of a gene therapy treatment for choroideremia, an inherited condition that causes blindness in men
- The design of a new eye test that can detect the early stages of sight loss in age-related macular degeneration
- The identification of new genes responsible for glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, keratoconus and other corneal disorders
- Supporting the development of Peek, a Portable Eye Examination Kit that uses a unique smartphone-based system for eye testing anywhere in the world
- The creation of the corneal transplant service
New treatments to save the sight of premature babies