We are in the midst of half-term – the point where the novelty of the new academic year has faded and excitement begins to bubble as the Christmas break rolls into sight.
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What have you been doing to raise awareness of children’s eye health this half-term?
As with all school holidays, half-term means an increased number of children out and about, playing in parks and shopping on the High Street. It also means an increased number of parents are on annual leave from work, having taken time off to care for their children and tweens. While commuters rejoice that a train seat is now a true possibility for them as rush hour feet recedes, this increased daytime footfall presents practices with an opportunity to encourage parents about the importance of children’s eye health and tempt them through the practice doors.
Children’s eye care, or lack of awareness about the issue, has long been a topic of conversation in optics, with parents’ knowledge lacking regarding the importance of regular sight tests for children from a young age.
The latest finding from a YouGov poll shows no signs of change. The survey, commissioned by Specsavers, reported that 41% of parents had not taken their child for a sight test in two years, while 30% admitted to having never taken their child for a sight test.
In a bid to change this, the multiple marks National Children's Eye Health Week this week, an initiative it established to both raise awareness of sight tests for children from the age of three and to dispel some of the myths around children’s eye care.
Recruiting celebrity ambassador, Rochelle Humes, to raise awareness of the Week, the ex-Saturday's singer admitted that while she was shocked to learn that so many parents never take their children for a sight test, she didn't take her first child until the age of three as it was something she overlooked.
So how can you raise awareness of children’s eye care within your community?
The AOP offers an array of tools to help members raise awareness of children's eye care. These range from a presentation that practitioners can give in schools to explain the importance of eye health to a guide on ensuring your practice is child-friendly, and some top tips on testing children as well as patient leaflets about why vision matters and advice on screen time.
Have you been raising awareness of children’s eye health this half-term? If so, let us know what you have been up to via the AOP’s community forums where you can share insight into what has and hasn’t worked for your practice with your peers.