Public urged to make eye health their new year's resolution

Make eye health a new year’s resolution as a seasonal reminder of the importance of regular sight tests

30 Dec 2015

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is urging the public to make eye health their new year’s resolution as a seasonal reminder of the importance of regular sight tests. The call follows new research which reveals that only 35% of people are aware of optometrists’ ability to detect eye health problems1 - indicating a narrow understanding of the role optometrists play safeguarding the nation’s eye health. A further 11% of people surveyed have never been to see an optometrist or optician2, suggesting that large numbers of the population are currently overlooking their eye health.

Optometrist and AOP Clinical and Regulatory Officer, Henry Leonard, said: “We’re urging people not to overlook the value of sight and to make eye health their new year’s resolution. At this time of year when we’re all celebrating with friends and family, why not check that your loved ones can see as well as they should. Headaches, blurred vision and eye strain are all possible signs that a visit to your local optometrist may be in order. During a sight test, your optometrist will test your vision as well as the health of your eyes.” 

Mr Leonard added: “Sight is the sense people fear losing the most. NHS-funded sight tests are available for children under 16 and those aged 60 or over, in addition to other key groups. As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” 

The AOP is encouraging its members to support a nationwide poster campaign, calling on the public to make eye health their top priority for 2016. The Association recently produced a new animated video explaining what to expect from a sight test, as well as new patient information including a guide to who’s who in an optical practice and top tips for healthy eyes.

For more information about eye care and top tips for healthy eyes, see the AOP website www.aop.org.uk/patients

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High res optical images are available for media use. For more information please contact Anne Grenyer, PR and Media Manager at the Association of Optometrists, annegrenyer@aop.org.uk or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors

1 The Public perceptions of the optical professions survey of UK adults on behalf of the General Optical Council (GOC) revealed that only slightly more than a third (35%) made any reference to opticians’ ability to detect eye health problems. 

2 More than one in seven (15%) say that their last visit to an optician was more than two years ago and around one in ten (11%) say that they have never been to an optician.

Produced by ComRes in June 2015, the survey refers to ‘opticians’ rather than the two optical professions – ‘optometrists’ and ‘dispensing opticians’. According to ComRes, this is due to the initial qualitative scoping which demonstrated that the majority of the public do not distinguish between the two professions. As such, questions were asked which reflect their understanding of the professions in order to obtain meaningful findings, and the analysis reflects this.


Association of Optometrists 

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading professional membership organisation for optometrists and other optical professionals in the UK. We support our community of 16,000 plus members to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. As a founding member of the Optical Confederation we work with others to improve eye health for the public good. Find more information at www.aop.org.uk

Optometrists and eye health

Optometrists are eye health professionals and the services they provide are far wider than a simple test to determine whether glasses or contact lenses are required to correct vision. A sight test is not about getting a pair of glasses – it is a vital health check for your eyes. 

As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Everyone should have a sight test every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends it. Find more patient information at www.aop.org.uk/patients

A new poster Make your eye health your new year’s resolution will be distributed to the AOP’s members across the UK in December 2015.