As children return to school for the start of the new academic year, independent community opticians Openshaw's, are urging parents to book an eye exam for their child, as part of the back to school routine.
Coming together under the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, Openshaw Opticians is stressing the importance of regular eye examinations for children, especially after research showed that 14 per cent of parents have never taken their child for an eye test.
“The majority of what a child learns in the formative years, especially at school, requires good vision so regular eye examinations are vital to ensure children make the most of their education” said Paul Surridge, spokesman for the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign.
Steve Dando, a spokesperson for Openshaws, said: “Timely identification of a child's vision problems can be crucial because they are more responsive to treatment
when problems are diagnosed early. It is vital to watch for tell tale
symptoms such as sitting too close to the television, rubbing eyes and blinking a lot”
It is recommended that the majority of school-aged children have an eye exam annually, especially if they need spectacles or wear contact lenses. Eye examinations for the under 16's are free on the NHS.
Mr Dando added: “The start of the new school year can often be a chaotic time preparing a child for the year ahead and eye examinations should be an integral part of that process. “Independent community opticians are there to learn about every family member’s lifestyle and help you take care of your long term eye health. Getting your children into a routine of eye testing now will help them recognise the importance of taking care of their eyes throughout their life.”
The optical sector has been campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of children's eye health with parents and teachers. It is estimated that 1 million children will return to school this
year with an undiagnosed vision problem. Poor eyesight can have a significant effect on children’s ability to learn and on their behaviour - yet often goes unrecognised by
teachers, parents and by the children themselves.
Commenting on children’s eye health, Bob Hughes, Chief Executive at the Association of Optometrists, said: “It’s an absolute public health disgrace. There are problems which can be corrected in young people’s eyes and yet it’s a buried issue, an unknown issue, that children are losing out on a good education because they can’t see properly.”
To find out more about the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, visit www.eyelovelocal.co.uk to access tips and advice on taking care of your eyes and to locate your nearest independent optician.
The Association of Optometrists
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) represents individual optometrists in negotiations with government and other organizations. It also promotes the profession and development of high professional and clinical standards.
Children’s eye health facts and figures