Simon Jones: Eyes need a hero
Author: Simon Jones
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, National Eye Health Week (NEHW) had even more of a low key, pass-you-by feel to it than usual. There were some interesting pieces of research, a few mainstream media appearances and a handful of stories in national print media. The same as last year, really. And the year before that. It’s lucky that facemasks have come along and given us something new to talk about.
Being critical of NEHW in a year that has been ravaged by the pandemic may seem unfair, but the annual awareness week had trod the same path for a long time now.
My biggest bugbear has always been a lack of ‘mobilising the troops’ within the optical workforce. Too many times over the years has Optician spoken to practices that haven’t even known NEHW was taking place, let alone been involved. Optician has tried to help with this in the past, with articles well in advance to give practices time to prepare. But even that initiative was driven by us.
Awareness of the importance of good eye health and the professional support network available from practitioners needs to be in the spotlight all-year-round. Eye health needs a champion, an ambassador, a hero. A brilliant practitioner who can appear on the likes of This Morning or Sunday Brunch and actually talk about the importance of maintaining good eye health. But beyond that, talk about the eyewear fashion and the wider industry – because if those elements were better understood by the public, the sector would less likely to fall foul of hatchet job exposes like that of Supershoppers last year.
That individual is out there. Maybe they don’t realise it yet, though I dare say some probably do. The search should start now.