A campaign aimed at changing perceptions of laser eye surgery within the optical sector across the UK and Ireland has been overwhelmingly successful – with over 800 optical professionals choosing Optical Express to meet their laser eye surgery needs.
The initiative saw Optical Express launch an open promotion, available to any General Optical Council registered optical professional or student, under which they provided laser eye surgery completely free of charge.
Over 1,000 respondents attended a refractive consultation in the past four months, of which 94% were found to be suitable for laser eye surgery and 847 chose to have a procedure.
The feedback from those treated showed that almost 90% felt it had improved their quality of life – and 95% said they would now recommend laser eye surgery to friends and family.
Dr Steve Schallhorn, Chief Medical Director and Chairman of the Optical Express International Medical Advisory Board, said, “The idea behind this campaign was to help better inform and educate the wider industry about the benefits of laser eye surgery. There are still too many unfounded myths about it out there, and the campaign has produced some fascinating insights into the optical sector in the UK and Ireland.
“The response has surpassed our expectations. The feedback has underlined the fact that both people entering the industry as new graduates, and many of those already working in it, are interested in the benefits of laser eye surgery.”
27% of those who took up the offer were students, while a significant majority of enquiries (64%) were from those under 30 years of age already working in the industry.
In the case of students, over 66% did not think that the subject of laser eye surgery was sufficiently covered as part of their university studies – highlighting a knowledge gap within existing optical courses.
Qualified optometrists made up almost 60% of those treated over the course of the campaign – 35% of them indicating they worked at Specsavers, and the rest indicating they worked at other multiples such as Boots Opticians and Vision Express, independent opticians or supermarkets such as ASDA and Tesco.
The majority of those treated cited price as the reason why they had not previously had laser eye surgery, but following their procedure 94% said the experience had changed the way they perceived laser eye surgery. None of those treated indicated they worked for a laser eye surgery provider, or that there was any link or relationship between their organisations and Optical Express. However, 83% said they would recommend laser eye surgery to patients.
“We believe that this campaign has not only transformed the day-to-day lives of those who took advantage of free treatment, but has also served to highlight current levels of awareness surrounding laser eye surgery.”
“As regards students, it is concerning that there appears to be a gap in the awareness of those entering the eye care sector, with little or no time spent on educating future professionals on an understanding of the benefits of laser eye surgery. The feedback suggests they want to be better informed.”
“We have also seen that many industry professionals have been pleasantly surprised by the benefits of laser eye surgery, with almost 90% indicating that their treatment had provided life-changing benefits.”
“Ultimately what we observed is a positive shift in the perception of laser eye surgery within the eye care sector, and we are confident that the hundreds of people working in the industry who have had this treatment will enjoy the benefits of it for the rest of their lives.”