Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe has joined Specsavers to help increase eye health awareness across Australia.

New research from Specsavers has revealed how important vision is to Australians. Close to nine out of 10 Aussies aged 35 years and older rate sight as the most important sense, yet six million Australians over 35 are failing to get a regular eye test, potentially putting their eyesight at risk.

The research also shows that most Australians don’t see eye health as a priority and don’t focus on eyesight to the same extent as other conditions and illnesses. The conditions Australians are most concerned about getting are cancer (58%), heart disease (37%), diabetes (26%) and high blood pressure (21%), many of which can be detected through an eye test.

As the ambassador for Specsavers’ new eye health awareness campaign, which started on Sunday 2 July and will run until Saturday 5 August, Ian is encouraging all Australians to be proactive with their eye health so that they can uncover potential issues before they pose a threat.

Ian, who recently discovered he needed glasses, said, “We under appreciate our eyes until we start having issues. Of all the things I have done in the past, and everything I want to do in the future, it has made me realise what a big part good eyesight plays. I’ve used my eyes throughout my career – I actually couldn’t have done it without them! “

Ian will feature in digital advertising

In addition to raising awareness of the importance of eye health nationwide, the campaign aims to highlight the fact that eye tests are an essential health check-up that should be undertaken regularly, regardless of vision problems, as they can assist in the detection of diseases or abnormalities.

“A test can pick up everything from a need for glasses, to diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and even diabetes,” Ian said. “I have a family history of glaucoma so it’s something I am very aware of and need to keep track of. Your eyes are the window to your health so it’s important to have them tested every two years.”

Investing in eye health
Specsavers has made a significant investment in the newly launched campaign, which complements the business’ existing offering of free digital retinal photography with every standard eye test – part of its commitment to ensuring every patient receives the best eye care available.

“Digital retinal photography is a powerful tool that allows optometrists to screen for abnormalities, assisting with the early detection of eye conditions to ensure any changes can be managed and vision can be saved,” Specsavers Australia and New Zealand Optometry Director Peter Larsen explained.

As part of the campaign, Ian will be taking part in media interviews which will feature across national television, radio, and both digital and print media. He will also appear in digital advertising (see inset).

Peter will also be making media appearances over the course of the month, and a new TV commercial underscoring the importance and benefits of detecting eye heath issues early will run across metro and regional TV networks for the duration of the campaign (see below).