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Report reveals parents are blind to children’s eyecare needs

04 June, 2013
Report reveals parents are blind to children’s eyecare needs

An independent report reveals a quarter (23 per cent) of parents with a child aged 3-12 are yet to have had their child’s vision tested.

The report of more than 1,000 parents, commissioned by Specsavers and carried out by Mumsnet aims to raise awareness of children’s social and behavioural development with regular visits to the optician.

Of those who admitted they hadn’t taken their child to an optician, more than half (51 per cent) reported it was because their child doesn’t seem to have a problem.

Paul Carroll, director of professional services at Specsavers, says: ‘Parents who assess their child’s eyecare themselves are creating unnecessary problems later in life. A child’s eye sight will continue to develop right up to the age of 8 years old, which means that eyecare issues can be corrected by the optician’.

If parents are experiencing behavioural issues in their child at home or at school, then the cause could be their eye sight, so it is definitely worth taking them to your nearest optician.

Despite the lack of understanding around the dos and don’ts of children’s eye examinations; parents’ attitude to glasses has changed for the better.

Nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of parents added that they would be happy for their children to wear glasses if needed and less concerned about bullying.

Katie O’Donovan head of communications & partnership from Mumsnet adds ‘While most parents are used to the routines of health visitors, dentists and doctors, many are surprised to learn the importance of taking their child for any eye test from as young as three. It's reassuring to hear that early testing can help identify and treat problems and that the stigma once associated with children wearing glasses has all but disappeared”.

The survey also found that:

  • 28 per cent of parents didn’t know whether eye problems detected before the age of 8 can often be resolved
  • Overall one in five children wears glasses or contact lenses. This rises to 39 per cent in 10-12 year olds
  • 1 in 10 parents did not know that eye examinations were free for under 16s
  • The main reason for parents taking their children for an eye examination was a family history of sight problems, at 38 per cent
  • 38 per cent of parents thought the best age for an eye examination should be around 2-4 years old

The survey follows The College of Optometrists’ Britain’s Eye Health in Focus report, released in March this year.

The report found that while 70 per cent of parents felt children’s sight test to be very important, still less than a quarter were yet to take their child for an eye examination.