Free vision screening equipment, including a three-minute test operated by school staff is now available to pupils in Otley.
The innovative software has been developed by scientists at City University London following research by the College of Optometrists, which found that fewer than a third of local authorities in England are providing vision screening for children.
SchoolScreener EZ®, is being provided free to schools across the UK though support from Specsavers. The kit includes software which runs on any computer or tablet device, and test glasses worn by the child. Simply operated without any training required, it can be used to detect the most common eye problems among children including short-sightedness (myopia), lazy eye (amblyopia), squint (strabismus) and astigmatism, allowing them to be corrected early on.
A word from the store director
Roger Copley, store director at Specsavers in Otley, said: ‘We have seen some cases where children have been misdiagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD or learning difficulties when in fact the child simply needs glasses. The fact is all children should have regular eye tests from the age of three or four years old.’
Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson said: ‘A child’s eyesight will continue to develop right up to the age of eight and a number of eyecare issues can be corrected by an optician if detected before this time.
‘The vision screening technology allows schools to rapidly identify children with vision problems so that they can be referred for a full eye examination, before their vision problem has a significant impact on their learning.’
Through funding by Specsavers and a Screening for Schools campaign, the software, designed to be operated by teachers, other school staff or volunteers, is being made available at no cost to all 27,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK. Following the test, the software automatically generates reports for parents or guardians to help them make informed decisions about their child’s eyes.
SchoolScreener EZ® is designed to screen vision as children progress through schooling and is a variant of software already used by many NHS Trusts for school entry screening. Through The Screening for Schools campaign, Specsavers will ensure that all schools in the UK and Channel Islands have the opportunity to offer their pupils comprehensive, age appropriate vision screening.