Children’s eye health at risk due to a poor eye care regime

Children are missing out on vital eye health care because parents believe their children’s vision is tested at school say the Association of Optometrists as it launches its A B See campaign.

A report released by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) shows that more than half (52%) of parents with school age children thought their child would have a full sight test at primary school.

Yet, sight tests are not offered routinely at schools throughout the UK, which could mean that many children are suffering with undiagnosed eye conditions, despite there being a ‘window of time’ for treating certain issues.

The study also showed that nearly three quarters (74%) of practising optometrists have seen children in the past year who had vision problems that could have been treated more successfully if they had been diagnosed at an earlier age2.

However, a quarter (24%) of 4-16-year-olds had never been taken for a sight test by their parents.

Over a quarter (27%) of parents admitted to waiting for their child to show certain behaviours before taking them for a sight test, such as sitting too close to the television or holding books close to their eyes.

While one in seven (14%) admitted to only booking a sight test when their child told them they were having trouble seeing.

Optometrist and Clinical Advisor for the AOP, Farah Topia explained: “The AOP’s research demonstrates that unfortunately there is a huge gap between what most parents think is provided, and the eye health care that children actually receive at school, through vision screening. Many parents also don’t realise that there is a window of opportunity to treat certain eye conditions which is why many practitioners are seeing children come in, with a condition that could have been treated much more effectively, had they been seen earlier.

“It’s important to remember that conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye as it is often known, can have a detrimental impact on social and academic development as well as career options, later in life. This is why, the AOP is advocating that parents take their children for a sight test, which is NHS-funded for those below the age of 16 – as it’s the best way to make sure conditions are picked up and treated early”.

Ms Topia added: “As a rule of thumb, it is good for children to have their first sight test around the age of three, but children can have a sight test at any age, if a problem is suspected.”

Cost also played a part: one in 10 (10%) parents wrongly believed they must pay for sight tests for under 16s and the overwhelming majority (83%) would be more inclined to book a sight test for their child knowing that it is funded by the NHS.

Key data:
– Over 3.4million 4-16 year-olds in the UK have been diagnosed with a sight problem
– 13% of children have an undiagnosed common sight problem that impacts their learning and development
-Nearly all optometrists (94%) believed parents should receive more information about their children’s eye health through schools, GP surgeries, health visitors and the personal health record book
-The majority of optometrists (88%) were aware that many parents were unsure to what extent their child’s eyes are tested at school
– One in ten (11%) parents believed children don’t need sight tests unless they start showing symptoms, like straining to see something
– One in five teenagers in the UK are short-sighted
– One in 50 children will develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia can become more difficult to treat as a child grows older so it’s important to get their vision checked early8
– To raise awareness of the importance of vision for a child’s development, the AOP is launching its A B See campaign, designed to help make sure children achieve their full potential.

As part of the campaign, the AOP is recommending that parents take their children for an NHS-funded sight test, at their local opticians, every two years, or more often if their optometrist recommends it.

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DVLA asks drivers to look again in new EYE 735T campaign

Drivers will be encouraged to take the ‘number plate test’ – a quick and easy way to check they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. By law, all drivers must meet the minimum eyesight standards at all times when driving – this includes being able to read a number plate from 20 metres.

The campaign is reminding the public that they can easily check their eyesight by taking the 20 metres test and is pointing out some ways to quickly identify 20 metres at the roadside. It is advising that 5 car lengths or 8 parking bays can be an easy way to measure the distance.

The campaign is encouraging anyone with concerns about their eyesight to visit their optician or optometrist for an eye test. So if you are unsure or concerned, give Penzers a call now to book an eye test and remember that in the event you are found to be deficient in a roadside check, you are liable to prosecution.

Dr Wyn Parry, DVLA’s Senior Doctor, said:

“The number plate test is a simple and effective way for people to check their eyesight meets the required standards for driving. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to work out what 20 metres looks like at the roadside – this is typically about the length of 5 cars parked next to each other – and then test yourself on whether you can clearly read the number plate. It’s an easy check to perform any time of day at the roadside and takes just a couple of seconds.”

“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician – don’t wait for your next check-up.”

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An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away says 15-year study

A new study has shown that people who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration than people who do not eat oranges. Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 15-year period.

The research showed that people who ate at least one serving of oranges every day had more than a 60% reduced risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later.

Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent against the eye disease.

“Essentially we found that people who eat at least one serve of orange every day have a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with people who never eat oranges,” she said.

“Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits.

“The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease.”

Associate Professor Gopinath said that until now most research has focused on the effects of common nutrients such as vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.

“Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration.

“Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.

“We examined common foods that contain flavonoids such as tea, apples, red wine and oranges.

“Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease,” she said.

There is currently no cure for the disease.

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New kids sunglasses by Loops are available now

The DUDES & divas range by Loops Eyewear is now available at Penzers. Something different for the kids to enjoy and designed to help them feel good about wearing glasses. The range offers a great looking choice of styles and colours, so suddenly wearing glasses is cool!

At last, designer frames for little faces. A full range of colours and styles in acetate to make any child feel good about wearing glasses. All frames feature the 180 degree spring joint.

Children’s eyes need protection while on holiday or playing outside, which is why the new range of Loops Dudes & Divas kids Sunglasses has been developed.

Not only are these frames fashionable, they are also lightweight and durable, fabricated from colourfast soft polyurethane material. There are 16 styles for boys and girls each in two colours.

DUDES & divas sunglasses can now be viewed instore at Penzers.

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