Radical new online vision screening software is being provided free of charge to schools in the Eastbourne area following a study revealing that millions of UK children under the age of 12 have never had an eye test.
The three-minute screening test, developed by optometrists and vision scientists at City University London, has been shown to detect the most common eye problems among children and will be available nationwide from this week.
Through funding by Specsavers opticians, the software, which has been designed to be operated by teachers and other school staff or volunteers, is being made available at no cost to all 27,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK.
Following the test, the software automatically generates reports for parents or guardians to help them make informed decisions about their child’s eyes.
The Screening for Schools campaign follows recent research by the College of Optometrists which found that less than a third of local authorities in England are providing vision screening for children, despite national recommendations that all four-year-olds should be checked.
Specsavers’ own research in 2014 revealed that one in five children aged 12 and under has never had an eye examination. With latest data revealing that nearly four million UK children have never had their sight tested at school.
Rob Lofting, store director at Specsavers, said: “There is still a lack of general awareness among parents and teachers about the importance of regular eye tests.
“We have seen some cases where children have been misdiagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD or learning difficulties when in fact the child simply needs glasses. The fact is all children should have regular eye tests from the age of three or four years old.”
Shockingly, new survey data revealed that one quarter of parents have never thought about taking their child for an eye test.
Data showed that over 30% of parents don’t know that their child does not need to know how to read to do an eye test. With over 90% of parents saying that they don’t know at what age it is too late to prevent long term sight issues in their children.
Computer-based screening is already used by many NHS Trusts.
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