History of IONA

The International Ophthalmic Nurses Association is an independent association founded in 1955 by Mrs. Carmichael, then Matron of Moorfields Eye Hospital, to provide an opportunity for Ophthalmic Nurses worldwide to share knowledge and experience.

Armorial Shield

The Armorial Bearings of the Association were granted by Letters Patent of the Kings of Arms Pursuant to Royal Authority in 1970.

Armorial BearingsAs with many Shields of Arms and Crests granted to corporate bodies, the design of the Arms and the Crest is intended to symbolise the activities and interests of the grantee corporation. In the present case the “Sun in Splendour” which features in the Shield is a symbol of light and health and is of course linked with the motto “Behold the Light” which in turn is an exhortation as regards the lamp appearing in the Crest which represents the actual lantern carried by Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.

Also in the shield, are two fleams, surgical instruments, which are entwined by a serpent which is here used as a symbol of health as in Aesculapius Rod which often appears in heraldry with a medical connotation.

The sun, fleams, and the serpents are charged upon three piles representing rays of light and each such pile is plumette of peacock’s feathers vert i.e. is depicted with green peacock’s feathers representing the many eyes of Argus, famous in Greek mythology; peacocks are the Supporters of the Arms of Moorfields Eye Hospital, which makes such a pattern in the Association’s Arms particularly significant.

In the Crest and Arm vested of the Association’s colours holds Florence Nightingale’s lamp, which is a most appropriate way of symbolising nursing and the care and attention also given to those for whom it is a vocation and issues out of a crown rayonny i.e. with straight and wavy rays set around the rim which thus reflects the rays of the sun in the Arms.

Thus the design of the Arms and Crest is intended to reflect all that the Association does in regard to the care and treatment of diseases of the eye and of nursing particularly in relation to ophthalmological treatment.