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As children return to school for the start of the new academic year, independent opticians are urging parents to book an eye exam for their child, as a new study released today shows that 40 per cent of parents have not had their child’s eyes tested in the last year, while more than one in ten have never had their child’s eyes examined*.
Coming together under the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, independent practices are stressing the importance of regular eye examinations for children, especially after research showed that up to one million British children have an undiagnosed vision problem**.
“A large amount of the learning process is accounted from visual learning so frequent visits to an optician are important for children to ensure normal vision development to make the most of their education,” said Paul Surridge, spokesman for the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign.
“Timely identification of a child's vision problems can be crucial because they are more responsive to treatment when these problems are diagnosed early. It is vital to watch for tell tale symptoms such as sitting too close to the television, rubbing eyes and blinking a lot,” added Paul.
Over a quarter (26.9 per cent) of people surveyed* within the study responded that cost prevents regular examinations but as children’s eye tests are free on the NHS until the age of 16, it is advised that school-aged children have an eye exam at least every two years. Children who need spectacles or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by their optometrist.
Paul said: “The start of the new school year can often be chaotic but eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone.
“Independent optical practices are there to learn about every family member’s lifestyle and help you take care of your long term eye health. Getting your children into a routine of eye testing now will help them recognise the importance of taking care of their eyes throughout their life.”
*The study for the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign was carried out online by Opinion Matters
**Association of Optometrists 2011
"The atmosphere, range of designer frames and the high levels of service at Wendy Diddams changed the way I viewed going to the opticians. By using an independent I have found that I don’t have to hang around waiting for ages and I also have never had an appointment cancelled since being with Wendy."Naomi Wellman, from Knutsford, patient at Wendy Diddams Optometrist
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