Specsavers warn parents that ‘eight is too late’ for eye checks

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Specsavers are reminding parents to keep an eye on their children’s eyesight to reduce the likelihood of problems in the classroom.

Everyone needs regular eye examinations, including children. Unfortunately, we don’t always notice our little ones are struggling with their vision – or mistakenly believe that the problem lies elsewhere.

Specsavers reminds parents to keep an eye on their children’s eyesight to reduce the likelihood of problems in the classroom.

According to the High Street optician, mums and dads need to book an eye test if they have any concerns about their child’s eyesight, as uncorrected vision problems can sometimes be mistaken for learning difficulties. Specsavers cites a 2008 report from The Eye Care Trust, which found that as many as one in five school children could be suffering from an undiagnosed vision problem that could interfere with their ability to learn.

A Specsavers spokesperson says: ‘Everyone needs regular eye examinations, including children. Unfortunately, we don’t always notice our little ones are struggling with their vision – or mistakenly believe that the problem lies elsewhere.'

‘Children accomplish up to 80% of learning through sight during their first 12 years, so testing their eyes after eight years old may already be too late.’

Symptoms to look out for include children losing their place while reading, headaches and eye rubbing, frequent reversals when reading or writing, avoiding close work, poor handwriting and holding reading materials close. All of these are tell tale signs that it is time to visit the opticians.

When a child is born, the paediatrician will check their vision when they are still on the hospital ward. It is generally very rare for there to be a problem with a newborn's sight.

Specsavers opticians recommends that children should then have their first eye examination at around three years old. Learning difficulties can sometimes be caused by uncorrected vision problems such as lazy eye, so the earlier they can be detected, the better the chance of correcting them.

Under the NHS an eye examination is available free of charge for all children up to the age of 16, and up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education.

If glasses are needed, parents are entitled to a voucher towards the cost of any glasses or contact lenses prescribed for their child. The value of the voucher depends on the prescription needed. Ask your optician for more details.

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Anna Reich
Beattie Communications
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