The people of Ireland are at increasing risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. With the figures predicted to continue to rise, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has looked at the role of the employer and researched attitudes to eyecare and its value in the workplace.
- Over six percent of the population in Ireland have diabetes1.
- Each year, more than 10,000 Irish people suffer a stroke2.
- High blood pressure affects one in four people in Ireland3.
Abby Pringle, sales and account adviser for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare in the Republic of Ireland, says: ‘Our research4 and experience shows that employers are generally aware that eye examinations test more than just vision and can check the overall health of the eye. While some are aware that eye health can be related to wider health issues, many of the details are quite sketchy.’
Employers mostly associate an eye examination with detecting diseases of the eye rather than screening the wider health of the body. While the vast majority know cataracts and glaucoma can be detected through an eye test, far less are aware that diabetes, high blood pressure and symptoms associated with strokes and brain tumours can also be detected.
Experts generally accept that illnesses and conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are on the increase:
- The number of people with diabetes in the Republic of Ireland5 is expected to rise by 37% between 2007 and 2015.
- The number of adults in Ireland aged 45+ with hypertension6 is expected to increase by 28% in the ten years up to 2020.
Once made aware that a full eye examination, costing as little as €19 per employee, can also help to detect and monitor these serious health conditions, the majority of employers become acutely aware of its high value to both employees and also to the company as a whole.
Abby Pringle explains: ‘When employers are aware of the availability of good-value eyecare and its much wider benefits, they embrace it, and that’s good news for their staff. Preventative healthcare is becoming more important and we’re pleased to see that employers are beginning to understand the fuller benefits of eye examinations. However, we would like to see eyecare policies more clearly communicated to staff, in our experience, the better employers communicate their eyecare policies, the more the employee also appreciates their full value.’
3. Nationwide survey for World Hypertension Day 2013.
4. Employer research conducted for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare by EMedia in Summer 2013.
5. Institute of Public Health’s report Making Diabetes Count
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