Out of sight


New stats reveal that one in 10 children has poorer eyesight now than before the lockdown, say Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists who are raising awareness of the importance of getting children's eyes tested regularly.

With the school term underway, this is particularly important as poor eye health can lead to difficulties developing key abilities such as spatial awareness, motor skills, sensory development, communication and social skills.

Mark Shelton, Optometrist and Clinical Development Coach at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, says: ‘It’s not always easy to spot that something is wrong with your child’s eyes, and it usually takes a collection of symptoms, rather than just one, to realise something is impairing their vision. They may start squinting their eyes or rubbing them frequently. They might purposefully close one eye when trying to read, or their eyes might also tear up or run excessively. They might also seem more light-sensitive than usual.

‘An eye problem can significantly affect a child’s academic performance at school as it can lead to a lack of focus, or even pain in the eyes when they’re using computers or tablets, which are now essential learning tools,’ adds Mark.

‘Given the challenges children have experienced in the last 18 months with their schooling, it’s important they get off on the best foot at the start of this new school year. Families should use the next few weeks to get an MOT on their children’s eyes, to make sure they are ready for the challenges of the new term.’

Eye examinations are available for free on the NHS for all under-16s. Trained optometrists will examine overall eye health, as well as vision.