Geographic lottery in children’s eye-care must end – Optometry Ireland

Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (For WORLD OPTOMETRY DAY 23/3/23)

Irish Optometrists have called for equal access to eye-examinations for children in all regions of the country – to mark World Optometry Day which takes place tomorrow (March 23).

Optometry Ireland (OI) said there is a geographical lottery in public eye-care for 8-16 years olds in Ireland, with long waiting times and public eye exams accessible in some regions of the country and not in others.

OI CEO Seán McCrave said the organisation which represents 700 Optometrists and 350 practices across the country, met with the HSE recently to highlight this inequality – and was given assurance that steps would be taken to address the issue.

“All regions have significant waiting times for public eye exams for children aged 8-16. While in some regions children do have access to an exam at their Optometrist, in most areas they do not. If there is any cause for concern all children should have timely access to a state funded eye exam at their local Optometrist.”

On World Optometry Day OI President Tania Constable encouraged all adults to be aware of any potential issue with children, and also to receive regular eye exams themselves.

“Children can’t always articulate when something is wrong, and the earlier an adult can detect a problem with their vision, the better. Look out for children sitting closer to the TV, rubbing their eyes more, or complaining of headaches.

“There is no more straightforward way for to look after your eyes than by going for a routine eye examination, which is recommended every two years for adults. Eyes don’t always present symptoms when something is wrong, but you might notice changes in your vision.

“Itchy, dry or red eyes could indicate an eye condition. While this is usually nothing to worry about, it is advisable to make an appointment if the symptoms don’t fade independently. It’s essential to be aware of eye health, and to see a professional if something isn’t right.”

More information on causes and symptoms of common eye conditions is available here including glaucoma, cataracts, AMD, and conjunctivitis.

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.