Valli Opticians launches children’s eye health campaign
Valli Opticians has today launched a campaign for children’s eye health to be given greater emphasis in the Personal Child Health Record (often referred to 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.
Kick-starting the campaign, Moin Valli, optometrist and Managing Director of the Valli Group of Opticians, said: “Statistics show that 1 in 5 school children have an undiagnosed vision problem yet there seems to be a general lack of awareness of the importance of regular eye examinations from an early age.
“I believe one reason for this may be the vague information about children’s eye health in the Personal Child Health Record (red book) . In fact there is no reference to visit an optometrist at all for a full eye examination, yet in contrast, when it comes to teeth parents are rightly encouraged to regularly visit their dentist.
“The red book 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 further by the addition of more comprehensive information on eye health.
“At Valli Opticians we recommend that children’s eyes are comprehensively examined by an optometrist from the age of three, or sooner if parents are concerned. Detecting problems early on offers the greatest opportunity to aid normal visual development.”
Children may not realise they have a vision problem, so without routine tests by an optometrist there is a risk that any problems could go undiagnosed for months or years. All children under 16 qualify for a free NHS funded sight test.
Children’s eyes differ from those of adults in a number of ways. A child’s immature visual system is more prone to irreversible damage therefore it is important to have your child regularly assessed. This is so that conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) which affects 3% of children, strabismus (squint), and uncorrected refractive error i.e. myopia (short sightedness) and hyperopia (long sightedness) can be detected early.
Moin said: “Some children have a vision test when they start school. This is usually a basic test designed to pick up children who have reduced vision in one or both eyes. If a problem is suspected children will usually be referred to an optometrist for a full sight test. Parents may assume that their child has been screened at school but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Even where this does happen it is not usually until the ages of four or five so we recommend that all children visit their optometrist for a sight test around the age of three.
“I believe that increased coverage of eye health in the red book, including a recommendation that children are regularly examined by an optometrist from an early age, will significantly help to raise vital awareness among parents and carers.”
Valli Opticians is encouraging people to support their campaign by clicking on to this this link: Change.org Valli Opticians Red Book Campaign or by visiting their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.