Children’s eye check story book is launched

Astigmatism, colour vision, duochrome and visual acuity checks feature in a new book from Boots Opticians

Actress Tamzin Outhwaite reading Boots' Zookeeper Zoe

Boots Opticians has launched a new story book to encourage parents and carers to check their children’s eyes. The initiative is part of the multiple’s commitment to tackling undiagnosed vision problems in children.

Called Zookeeper Zoe, it has been created in partnership with the National Literacy Trust. The book’s campaign highlights research from a Johnson & Johnson Vision Care survey that shows 53% of children have never had a sight test.

In collaboration with celebrity father, Peter Andre, the book tells the story of a girl’s day out at the zoo during which she unexpectedly has to step in and help look after the animals.

The book, which is targeted at children aged four to six years, contains a range of interactive eye check activities to help highlight if a child might need support with their vision. As the story unfolds, questions and images are built into the copy, featuring astigmatism, colour vision, duochrome and visual acuity checks.

Pictured is British actress Tamzin Outhwaite reading the book with six-year-old Felix Fletcher at a launch event in London on 13 March.


The book initiative builds on the success of the multiple’s vision screening programme for schools that launched last year. In the five months since its launch, a fifth of all the children screened have had a potential vision problem detected and have been referred for a full eye examination at their local opticians.

Boots Opticians customer director, Karl Thomas, said: “Estimates suggest that one million children in the UK have an undiagnosed eye condition. Our ambition is to change that figure by making it easier for people to access the eye health support they need.”

Mr Thomas concluded: “We know up to 80% of what a child learns is through their sight so we want to help all children in the UK reach their potential by making sure their vision has been checked.”
Head of partnerships at the National Literacy Trust, Lisa Rootes, said: “Eye sight and reading go hand in hand which is why we are delighted to be collaborating on this project. It’s another example of how we are working with Boots Opticians to make sure every child feels confident about their reading, so every child can reach their full potential.”

The campaign has been supported by the winner of the 2015 AOP Awards Lifetime Achievement accolade, Dr Maggie Woodhouse, OBE, of the School of Optometry & Vision Sciences at Cardiff University.

Dr Woodhouse said: “Many young children in the UK are missing out on their sight tests. It is very difficult for parents to know when their child is not seeing clearly, so more needs to be done to ensure parents and carers understand the importance of eye checks.”

She added: “Initiatives such as this book from Boots Opticians are a big step in the right direction. Not only is it a really nice story, but it will raise awareness of children's eyes and sight and help pick up any problems really early.”

From 16 March, 350,000 printed copies of the book are available for free from over 2500 Boots UK stores and 637 Boots Opticians’ practices. It is also free to read online, or download from the book’s website. The book is also available as an iOS and Android app.

Image credit: PA Wire