Eye Doctors to Tackle Lack of Regulations in Medical Advertising in Ireland

Eye Doctors to Tackle Lack of Regulations in Medical Advertising in Ireland
Policy Meeting to Address Issue Announced at Annual Meeting of Eye Specialists

The Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO), the recognised training and professional body for eye doctors in Ireland, has announced at its AGM in Limerick this week plans to hold a major policy meeting that will address the lack of regulations in medical advertising in Ireland. The meeting, which the College will host in September this year, will look at the impact of advertising on medical and surgical specialties.

Speaking at the ICO meeting in Limerick, President of the College and Consultant Eye Surgeon at University Hospital Limerick, Miss Marie Hickey Dwyer said,
"Advertising standards are a matter of concern to the ICO. Our issue is with the promise of outcomes that are not always possible and advertising them in a way that trivialises surgery."

The ICO expressed it's concern that direct patient advertising is being increasingly used to promote certain elective surgical procedures, with special offers and little mention of the potential risks. It advises that without appropriate standards, such advertising may be misleading or inaccurate, and may fail to reveal important risks and potential complications of treatment to a patient. As the expert body on eye care in Ireland, the ICO says regulation of medical advertising is urgently required in this country to ensure that patients can make fully informed decisions.

The ICO has raised numerous concerns and examples of what it regards as inappropriate medical advertising with the Advertising Standards Authority in Ireland (ASAI), including companies that offer incentives such as the chance to win free laser eye surgery.

Mark Cahill, Consultant Eye Surgeon and spokesperson for the ICO said that the lack of success in these complaints being upheld has prompted the college to push for regulation of medical advertising. The College is facilitating a policy meeting which will take place in Dublin on September 24 this year to provide a platform for stakeholders and policy makers to discuss the issue.

The plans for the meeting were announced at the ICO Annual Conference, which took place in Limerick this week (May 14-16) with over 150 eye specialists from Ireland and abroad discussing the latest developments and treatments for eye care patients.

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For more information on eye health visit www.eyedoctors.ie

For media enquiries contact:
Ciara Keenan, Communications Manager, Irish College of Ophthalmologists
E: Ciara.keenan@eyedoctors.ie



Notes to Editor:
About the Irish College of Ophthalmologists
The Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) is the educational and professional body for eye doctors and the expert body on medical eye care in Ireland.
The ICO is dedicated to promoting excellence in eye care through the education of its members, trainees and the public. Its goal is to maintain standards of excellence for the restoration of vision and the preservation of sight. We do this by educating eye doctors in training, providing on-going education for eye doctors in practice, giving accurate medical advice to the public and policy guidance for the government.

20th May 2014