Eye wear distributor, Brulimar Optical Group, has announced some surprising and rather alarming results from its innovative ‘Eye Spies’ survey that questioned 11 to 15 year old children in British schools about glasses and eye health in early 2013.
The survey saw a group of non glass wearing school students on a ‘top secret mission’ to wear clear lens frames for a week, recording their own thoughts and quizzing their peers, as well as questioning classmates, teachers and adults about eye health.
On the plus side, it showed a significant shift in terms of young people’s attitudes towards glasses and their wearers; many of the ‘Spies’ had become used to wearing glasses within five days, with some reporting increased confidence due to positive reactions from their peers.
“Our industry is to be applauded for creating frames that young people genuinely like wearing,” says Howard Librae, Managing Director at Brulimar. “ We’ve come such a long way from the dreaded children’s eye wear of 25 years ago. It’s easy for grown-ups to forget what it’s like to wear glasses for the first time, and in the Eye Spies survey we wanted to look at any barriers so as to better address them.”
But the real barrier, it turns out, consists in the ignorance of parents and carers around children’s eye health. A striking 54% of total respondents from the 11 to 15 age group didn’t know about recommended bi-annual eye checks, a figure which rose to 68% in non glass wearing respondents, of whom only quarter had been tested in the past two years. In fact, 44% of the non glass wearers had never had their eyes tested at all.
“Parents and carers are neglecting their children’s eye health if they don’t take them for regular optometrist checks every two years,” says Howard. “As an industry with eye health as its raison d’être, we should be calling on the relevant bodies to properly promote children’s eye health, especially the importance of the bi-annual eye test, among parents and schools.”