By Michael Hutton
Vision correction for young children could be a more urgent requirement than previously believed given the view of the UK's Optical Confederation which estimates that as many as 1 million youngsters start school with undetected sight problems. The organisation which represents the optical profession, says that poor eyesight can have a significant effect on children's ability to learn and on their behaviour, but teachers, parents and children themselves often fail to recognise there is a problem. Hence the Confederation has launched the Children's Eye Health campaign 2011 to encourage parents to get their children's eyes tested as part of the ‘back to school' routine.
Only 52 per cent of children in the UK have ever had a sight test which compares to 90 per cent of children who visit a dentist regularly. Consequently, the Confederation sent out more than 23,000 letters to primary school Head teachers across the UK last month to raise awareness of early sight testing for children whilst the Confederation's children's campaign targeted teachers with a poster and video to encourage parents to take their children for a free NHS sight test. Any reluctance to wear glasses by youngsters can now be addressed with various new types of contact lens including the new overnight ortho-k lenses which are only worn while sleeping and provide perfect all day vision correction for children with short-sight as well as preventing their prescription from worsening.
Karen Sparrow, education adviser at the Association of Optometrists said, ‘We must ensure that children don't lose out on a good education because they can't see properly. Including a sight test in the-back-to-school routine is a great way to make sure that a child's vision is not forgotten about. Many childhood eye conditions, such as lazy eye and squint, can be treated if they are picked up early as the eye and visual system are actively developing during the school years. If vision problems are identified and treated, it can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.' So the message is clear: ensure your child has his or her sight checked regularly in order that the appropriate vision correction treatment can be prescribed and avoid any undetected condition worsening - possibly irreversibly.
Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .