Have you had your child's sight tested?

publication date: Aug 28, 2019
author/source: Anne Coates

eye test

You’ve got the new uniform, pencil case, haircut and school shoes – you think you have all the bases covered for this autumn term. But there is one vital check that most parents do not realise will have a lasting impact on how much their child enjoys, and thrives, at school – a sight test.   

Why a sight test tops the back to school checklist:

  • Over 3.4million four to 16 year-olds in the UK have been diagnosed with a sight problem
  • 13 per cent of children have an undiagnosed vision problem impacting their learning
  • One in ten parents believes that children do not require a sight test unless they start showing symptoms, like straining to see something
  • One in five teenagers in the UK is short-sighted
  • One in 50 children will develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia can become more difficult to treat as a child grows older

This is why the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is urging parents to add a sight test to their back to school checklist.

More than one in ten children is estimated to have an undiagnosed common vision problem that affects their learning and development. Yet a quarter of four to 16-year-olds have never been taken for a sight test by their parents. With 2 per cent admitting that they waited for their own child to show certain behaviours before taking them for a sight test, such as sitting too close to the television before taking them.

Commenting on the importance of sight tests for children, optometrist Aishah Fazlanie, Clinical and Regulatory Adviser at the AOP said: “A lot of parents may be unaware that having a sight problem detected and treated earlier can make a real difference to a child’s experience of school. This time of the year can be a bit a daunting for children, so making those academic and social milestones as easy as possible is important. We know from research, that children often present with common conditions that could have been treated earlier, such as myopia (short-sightedness) and amblyopia (lazy eye) – and these could be holding them back.” 

In a recent AOP survey, nearly three quarters of optometrists had seen children in the past year who had vision problems that may have had a better outcome with earlier treatment.

So top of your back-to-school checklist should be a sight test for your children.