Blindspot means 'people fail to prioritise eye test,' says director at Specsavers Carlow

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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news@carlowlive.ie

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Specsavers in Carlow

Just 3% of the people who make PRSI contributions in Leinster know the exact health entitlements available to them, according to a new Specsavers survey.

With updates to the scheme introduced by the Department of Social Protection almost two years ago, the survey showed that a significant number of contributors are still unsure of the benefits available.

With optical benefits a part of the updated scheme introduced in October 2017, Specsavers undertook a national survey, conducted by Empathy Research, to gain an understanding into people’s awareness of PRSI. 

The research aimed to, not only shine a light on awareness levels, but to also underpin the uptake among Irish people of these benefits.

The research found that more than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed in Leinster had little or no understanding of what they are entitled to under PRSI.

Specsavers’ research shows that more than a third of those surveyed in Leinster (37%) are yet to make use of their PRSI entitlements.

Over a quarter (28%) of Irish adults who have claimed against PRSI have not made use of the free eye test.

This is shocking given that 92% of people declared that their sight was their most valued sense with a quarter of people saying they fear losing their sight over any other ageing aspects.

Store director at Specsavers Carlow, Mary McGinley, said: "At Specsavers Carlow, we are committed to raising awareness of the PRSI optical benefits available to our customers as taking a proactive approach to eye health is extremely important and should form part of everyone’s overall health checks.

"We know from our research that people fail to prioritise an eye test due to perceptions around cost or people deeming it an unnecessary expense.

"However, thanks to the PRSI benefits this no longer needs to be a barrier to people. Regular eye exams are a vital health check, as your optometrist may be able to see changes in your eye before you’ve noticed a change in your vision."

Specsavers’ research showed that uncertainty remains among people around the benefits, what they entail and how to claim.

Almost a third (31%) of adults in Leinster, who have not made use of PRSI entitlements before, claim that they didn’t know their entitlements. 

In addition, almost 16% of those claim that they didn’t know where to find out about how to make use of their PRSI entitlements and 19% of those who have availed of PRSI entitlements previously found the process to be difficult.

To combat this, Specsavers Carlow has taken all the stress and hassle out of the process and can advise customers instantly whether they are eligible.

Mary added: "At Specsavers Carlow we want the process to be as easy as possible and not to see PRSI as a hassle but an opportunity to avail of a free eye test.

"With Specsavers, upon booking an eye appointment online, over the phone or in store, customers are prompted to share their PPS number to enable our teams to have the information around a customer’s eligibility for PRSI benefits available at the time of their appointment and therefore advise them of their free sight test and access to free eyecare."

With PRSI optical benefits, those eligible will receive a free sight test and a voucher to the value of €42.37 towards a new pair of glasses.

At Specsavers Carlow, all of the glasses in the €59 range are available for those who qualify at no extra cost, giving customers greater choice and range of style when choosing their new frames.

Customers can also put their PRSI benefit towards the cost of glasses in the €89 range and above.

In addition, audiology also falls under PRSI medical benefits. People can claim half of the cost of a hearing aid, up to a maximum of €500 for a single aid, or up to €1,000 for a pair and claim up to 50% off repairs and replacement hearing aids too.

However only 51% of people surveyed in Leinster were even aware of these benefits.

Audiologist at Specsavers Carlow, Carol O’Neill, comments: ‘Like all parts of our body, our ears are susceptible to ageing and deterioration, which is why it’s important to get regular hearing checks.

In particular, those over the age of 55 should have their hearing tested every two years. Because of the slow progression of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed and can take up to 10 years before the problem is identified.’

For more information about using your PRSI Treatment benefit entitlement available, drop into Specsavers Carlow or check out www.specsavers.ie/offers/free-glasses-with-prsi.