Back to school sight tests

Linking vision and literacy levels in young children

Optometrist examining a child's eyes

With students returning to school next week we're highlighting the link between good vision and academic achievement; urging parents to ensure their children are on a level footing this term by booking a sight test.

A recent study in the British Medical Journal found that young children with poorer vision had reduced literacy levels, even when other factors, such as cognitive skills and background, are taken into account.

Commenting on the importance of sight tests for children, optometrist Henry Leonard, Clinical and Regulatory Officer at the AOP, said, "It is estimated one million children in the UK have an undiagnosed vision problem."

"When we look at how this can negatively affect a child's development, it’s a really worrying figure. It's particularly important to detect and correct these problems during early childhood, to ensure that vision develops normally, as it can be difficult or impossible to correct once a child reaches the age of eight or nine."

He added, "Parents are often quite shocked to realise their child has been struggling with schoolwork due to a visual problem, which can often be corrected with a simple pair of spectacles."

The AOP recommends that children are taken for a sight test around the age of three and then at least every two years, or as advised by your optometrist.

Find out more about children’s vision in our ‘For patients’ section or read our press release for the full story.