‘No Water’ Campaign Shortlisted for Vision Pioneer Award
Highlighting the risk for contact lens wearers
The UK’s main eye charity, Fight for Sight, is delighted that supporter, Irenie Ekkeshis, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award in the sight loss sector.
The 36-year-old Londoner’s ‘No Water’ campaign has been nominated for The Vision Pioneer Awards 2016, which celebrates excellence in the eye health and sight loss sector.
Irenie hopes her campaign will win the ‘Campaign of the Year’ award after she was diagnosed with the rare corneal infection Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in 2011. She has undergone two corneal transplants, lost the sight in her right eye, suffered scleritis and nearly lost an eye to the disease.
Following her diagnosis Irenie become a passionate advocate in raising awareness of her condition and the dangers of poor contact lens compliance. She spearheaded the 'No Water' campaign intended to highlight the risk of non-sterile water for lens wearers.
As a result of her campaign the British Contact Lens Association, produced its own ‘No Water’ stickers for use on lens packaging, this practice has since been adopted in a number of other countries.
Following its success Clearlab announced they will be the first manufacturer to adopt the label for its contact lens packaging in the UK plus the American Academy of Optometry has produced their own version of the ‘No Water’ stickers.
Irenie, who is a member of the Fight for Sight Speaker Network said: “Being diagnosed with a rare and debilitating eye infection changed my life in the course of one weekend. From being a confident, self-assured individual, fully in control of the course of my life and its direction, this awful condition struck and I suddenly found myself in the unfamiliar position.
“I was determined to raise awareness of the condition which led me to campaigning. I’ve since become a champion for citizen involvement and participation in health and social care – which is a great way to spread the campaign and the research work Fight for Sight funds into the condition.”
Irenie has previously been awarded the prestigious Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s ‘Health and Social Campaigner’ Award in 2015. She was also identified as an HSJ Patient Leader, which recognises individuals whose personal experiences have led them to instigate change. Plus has written patient information materials to support those living with AK – this has since been translated into different languages.
Irenie faces tough competition against Eye Heroes, Blind Veterans UK’s No One Alone and Guide Dogs’ Pavement Parking campaigns. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 13 June, at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London.