Through a child's eyes

It's not only important for children to read, but to have the vision to read in the first place

As we mark World Book Day today (3 March), I’m reminded of a time in my early teenage years when I began to struggle to read the text in front of me with ease.

I was 13-years-old and had never had a sight test before. As my mum noticed a difference in my reading habits, that quickly changed of course, and I can happily report that I have presented at a local optometrists every two years since.

It can often be taken for granted how important vision is to a child’s educational development, with the belief still rife among parents that children have their sight screened at school. And, why wouldn’t they? All children aged four and five should be offered a vision test in accordance to national screening guidelines after all. Unfortunately, recent research by the College of Optometrists showed that less that a third of local authorities are providing them.

With this in mind, five months ago Boots Opticians established a vision screening programme in schools and today shares some of the results.

Of the 904 children who have been screened, a potential vision problem has been detected in a fifth of them, and they have then been referred for a full sight test.

The programme devised by the multiple runs online and is designed to help teachers, school nurses and administrators identify potential vision problems. Once the screening is complete, a letter is produced to advise parents and carers whether a further referral to an optician is recommended.

As professionals I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted when I talk about the importance of sight tests for children. So with the Easter holidays just around the corner, will you be doing anything to drive younger patients into the practice?

Email me and let me know.