Chris Bennett: Spearheading the new normal in eye care
Author: Chris Bennett
Frustration over the lack of emphasis placed on eye care by the public should be tempered by a health anniversary being celebrated this month. It also indicates how such sea change happens.
It is 10 years since the smoking ban in public places came into effect – an event that neatly demonstrates how quickly attitudes and actions can be changed. Anyone over 40 will remember an era when smoking was part and parcel of everyday life.
By the 1970s the link between smoking and ill-health were well known. Parents were giving up, there was less smoking on the TV and even teachers were less likely to smoke. I have abiding memories of my PE teacher sat in his car, smoking while making sure no one took a shortcut on a rainy cross-country run. But who would have imagined a world in which you couldn’t light up in pub, club or workplace?
In a soon to be published interview (28.07.17) Vision Express’s CEO Jonathan Lawson describes how his organisation is going direct to the public with messages about eye health and this week its Vision Van is back on the road. Elsewhere Specsavers is using celebrity, in the form of swimmer Ian Thorpe, to help get the message across.
An amendment to the 2006 Health Act finally banned public smoking but the pressure came from outside Parliament. Politicians tried various means to derail the ban while the Labour government allowed a free vote on the issue.
But there were people taking direct action. Wetherspoons banned smoking in its pubs over two years before the ban became law. It went straight to the public, took action and made change happen.
Attitudes can be changed but it requires action. At the moment it looks like the multiples are leading the charge.