The Fred Hollows Foundation has used World Sight Day to remind a younger audience to have regular eye examinations.
The Foundation’s CEO Ian Wishart said the reminder was particularly relevant after widespread lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 disrupted routines and shifted people’s priorities.
more than one-third of young Australians (37%) have no idea how often they should get their eyes checked, in contrast to 24% of the general population
“Your eyes are like any other part of your body. You need to nurture them if you want them to stay healthy,” Mr Wishart said in a statement. “Blindness and vision loss aren’t just an issue for older people. They affect people at all stages of their lives and The Foundation treats patients of all ages.”
“With all the screen time that people get from a very young age, we also expect that people will be needing eye treatment earlier and earlier in their lives,” he said.
Young People Lack Eye Health Awareness
A recent survey of a nationally representative sample of Australians, conducted by The Fred Hollows Foundation, examined people’s knowledge and behaviour when it comes to their eye health, including the impacts of COVID-19.
It found more than one-third of young Australians (37%) have no idea how often they should get their eyes checked, in contrast to 24% of the general population.
The pandemic has also delayed eye check-ups for 28% of people aged 18 to 24 and 31% of people aged 25 to 34, mainly because of lockdowns.
Of those Australians who have had their eye checks delayed during the pandemic, 31% of people aged 18 to 24 cited not having enough time as the reason, higher than all other age groups.
The Fred Hollows Foundation’s ambassador, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, a renowned author and science communicator, is supporting the campaign by urging young Australians to book an eye test today, on World Sight Day, as many people in NSW emerge from lockdowns.
“Eyes are a crucial part of the human body and they work very, very hard without people realising,” Dr Karl said.
“Your eyes contain millions of receptors which turn light into electricity and one million nerves which send information to your brain.
“Eye conditions develop over time and the only way to check that the millions of receptors and nerves are healthy is to get an eye test.
“I encourage all Aussies, particularly younger people who might take their eyesight for granted, to #loveyoureyes and book an eye test.”
The Fred Hollows Foundation screened about 160,000 people worldwide in the month leading up to World Sight Day.