Local MP supports Valli Opticians ‘Red Book’ Campaign
Pictured above: Moin Valli and Andrea Jenkyns MP
Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, is supporting a local optician’s practice in its campaign to raise awareness about the importance of children’s eye examinations.
Andrea was invited to visit Valli Opticians in Outwood, Wakefield, to discuss their campaign for a greater emphasis on children’s eye health to be included in the Personal Child Health Record (commonly known as the ‘red book’).
The book is a national standard health and development record of a child’s early years which is given to all new parents and carers.
She met Valli Opticians Managing Director Moin Valli, who explained: “Statistics show that one in seven children in the UK (that’s over 1 million children) have an undiagnosed vision problem that can impact their learning and development. This is around four children in every classroom!
“Yet there seems to be a general lack of awareness in the UK of the importance of regular eye examinations from an early age. We believe one reason for this may be the vague information about children’s eye health in the red book.
“Some children have vision screening when they start school but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Where it does happen, the screening is carried out only once, at the age of 4-5. A child’s eyes can change after this age and this will not be identified by the screening programme.
Moin added: “The red book is where advice on childcare starts for most parents. It is a great tool that gives parents and carers a range of important advice about a child’s development and I am hopeful that it can be enhanced by more information on eye health. Whilst the current information in the red book is relevant, we are calling for it to be clearer.”
The content and format of the PCHR (‘red book’) are overseen by a multi-disciplinary group, hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
Andrea said: “I’m supporting Valli’s pledge, supported by the British Association of Optometrists, to add on the PCHR ‘red book’ an invite to take children for NHS funded sight tests. An early diagnosis could help children to recognise figures and to read earlier, avoiding potential issues at the start of school.”
Andrea has signed an online petition with the request to include in the ‘red book’ the following text:
‘You can take your child to see your local Optometrist for regular eye examinations. Children under 16 are entitled to NHS funded sight tests and an optical voucher. An optical voucher entitles you to help towards the cost of glasses if they are needed.’
You can sign the petition here.