Getting to know Dr Hilary Jones: brand ambassador and GP

  • by Jessica

What better way to endorse your products than have a real-life doctor recommend them to anyone suffering from common eye conditions. For The Eye Doctor, this is the ultimate accolade and really emphasises that our products are backed by science, designed to provide fast-acting relief and will help anyone suffering from mild to severe dry eye.

Many of you may already know that Dr Hilary Jones is our brand ambassador and if you have previously purchased any of our Eye Doctor products, you will have noticed Dr Hilary’s picture on the side of our packaging. We often get asked how this partnership came about, so we wanted to share the backstory and why we work together.

Dr Hilary’s career

Before Dr Hilary was a GP, he was working as a senior health officer in Ophthalmology doing cataract surgery, looking after people with glaucoma and Macular Degeneration, and admits to finding the eye a really fascinating organ. “It tells us so much about the human body including when someone has high blood pressure, if someone has diabetes or a brain tumour. A fascinating area of medicine.” states Dr Hilary.

Dr Hilary was previously suffering himself with Dry Eye Disease and Blepharitis from using screens, being over-exposed to bright lights in the studio and came across The Eye Doctor. He started using our Antibacterial Dry Eye Compress and our Intensive Relief Eye Drops and was amazed at how quickly his symptoms alleviated. He reached out to us for a visit to our HQ in West Yorkshire and is very open about being “blown away” at how clinically accurate we were. It was clear both Dr Hilary and The Eye Doctor had a passion for raising awareness for common eye conditions and that’s where the relationship started, from there we began to work together. “I was proud to be asked to be on the side of pack and highly recommend the products to my patients. I use the products myself so the relationship was an obvious one and still continues to this day!”

Why did you transition into a General Practitioner from Ophthalmology?

“When you qualify you have to work in certain disciplines – it might be Paediatric, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics. I really enjoyed Ophthalmology but always wanted a career in General Practice. A GP is a jack of all trades, I really wanted to be a family doctor helping all the generations, knowing I would still be seeing eye care patients in the mix.”

How did you then go from a GP to TV doctor?

“33 years ago I was introduced to breakfast TV whereby they were already using academic doctors but who were speaking in clinical jargon and not plain English. I saw this as an opportunity and wanted to discuss medical matters in a user friendly way, so I wrote to TVAM and shared my suggestion which was readily picked up, I was successful in my interviews and still works as a medical broadcaster to this day!”

How can we educate patients when to go to A&E vs when to book a GP / Optician appointment or even go see a Pharmacist?

“A recent report by the PAGB – a health consumer group - showed millions of A&E appointments and millions of hours of GP’s time could be freed up by people not taking self-treatable conditions to the NHS. Remarkable savings could be made. We’re already using Pharmacy’s for more things – they’re doing blood pressure, treating people in their consulting rooms for a number of conditions, prescribing antibiotics and contraception, this is helping GP’s and giving Pharmacists more responsibility. The same applies to eye specialists – patients could be seen a lot quicker if they utilise this service which is readily available, rather than going to A&E or booking in with their GP.”

Throughout your career, what have been the highs and the lows?

“There are plenty of highs! It’s wonderful when we receive letters from the viewers watching the show, expressing ‘thanks’ for discussing the symptoms of cancer – people often say ‘had we not watched the program perhaps we wouldn’t have got to the doctor in time to be able to cure it and get it treated’. Those letters are very satisfying and the same stands for people who watched episodes on the tumbler test and the non-blanching rash that comes with Septicaemia from Meningitis, viewers often said ‘we wouldn’t have got our child to hospital in time, or they may have lost their limbs’. For me, this is an expression of how useful the media can be in raising awareness and improving education and empowering patients.

Of course there are lows as well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time and sadly not all lives can be saved. We often interview people whose condition you know is going to deteriorate, for example Dame Deborah James who lost her life to bowel cancer recently. She did amazing work in raising awareness and raised millions of pounds for bowel cancer charities.

So, there are highs and lows but that’s what makes life interesting.”

We’d like to thank Dr Hilary Jones for working with us for so many years, advocating our products and helping raise awareness of common, debilitating, life-changing conditions either via The Eye Doctor or on National TV with the GMB crew! Cheers to the next decade of working together and changing lives 🥂

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