Optometrists want to end geographic lottery in children’s eye-care

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There is a geographical lottery in public eye-care for 8-16 years with no public programme for this age group, long waiting times and a lottery of access in different regions of the country, according to Optometry Ireland (OI).

Irish optometrists have said they can enable equal access to eye-examinations for children in all regions of the country, to mark World Optometry Week which takes place this week (March 17-24).

OI president, Tania Constable said the theme of World Optometry Week in 2024 was for the profession to progress its contribution to making eye-care more accessible and to improve health.

“There is a major gap in children’s eye-care in Ireland, as we do not have a State programme for 8-16 year olds. Optometrists have made a detailed submission to Government on this and we are calling for urgent progress, in order to prevent avoidable eye problems that can affect children’s learning.

“Optometry Ireland is today calling on the Government and HSE to implement a dedicated national eye-care programme for 8-16 years olds which is consistent across all regions.” 


Optometry Ireland represents 700 Optometrists and 350 practices across the country, and she said that an optometrist led programme would be community based and accessible for all families.

Ms Constable also encouraged parents to be aware of monitoring their children’s eye health.

“Children can’t always articulate when something is wrong, and the earlier an adult can detect a problem with their child’s 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 year for children and every two years for adults.