Welsh Government launches eye exam drive

The summer campaign focuses on encouraging the public, in particular children, to visit the local optometrist for a sight test

Young boy getting a sight test
Getty/aquaArts studio

The Welsh Government has launched a public-facing campaign that aims to encourage the public to attend their local optometrist for an eye examination this summer.

The Help us help you optometry campaign focuses on raising awareness of the importance of regular sight tests for children, calling on parents to take their children to the optometrists.

The Government launched the campaign earlier this month, reporting that 20% of school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Commenting on the campaign, chief optometric adviser for Wales, David O’Sullivan, highlighted that only 28% of children currently access regular eye tests with their High Street optometrist.

“This could mean a significant number of children may have problems with their vision that could be corrected,” O’Sullivan said, adding: “Free eye checks from a local optician are the best way for parents to get their children’s eyes checked and I encourage everyone to take up regular eye checks.”

To support the campaign, the Government has designed a suite of digital assets that can be used by optometry practices, including graphics that can be used on social media. The resources can be downloaded by visiting its website.

Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, emphasised that the Government recommends everyone visits their local optometry practice for regular preventative eye health checks. “The younger you are when you start having eye tests the better, which is why I would encourage all parents and carers to get their child’s eyes tested this summer ahead of the new school year. Optometrists are experts in eye health,” she added.

A statement released by the Welsh Government detailing the campaign referred to optometrists as eye specialists, “who can test children’s eyesight and diagnose a range of eye issues and conditions early enough to ensure successful treatment.”

The campaign comes as the profession in Wales prepares for the implementation of the new eye care contract, which Optometry Wales expects to be implemented in October 2023.