Parents across the UK are being urged to ensure they are doing enough to take care of their children’s visual health during Child Safety Week (June 24-30).
Recent figures released by the College of Optometrists revealed that although 70% of parents considered sight tests as ‘very important’ for their children’s health, a quarter of parents (25%) admitted their child has never had an eye test.
One in ten parents either couldn’t recall when their child last had a sight test, or said it was more than ten years ago.
Eye expert Steve Schallhorn of Optical Express says the figures are concerning when good vision is critical for a child’s development – with 80% of what children learn understood to be processed through the visual system.
“The ability to see clearly and to maintain adequate tracking skills to allow for comfortable reading both close up and at distance is an essential for every child growing up.
“With kids being kids, there are a number of risks to the health of their eyes. Young children get involved in all sorts of activities from playing football or sports with their friends, running around the house and even seemingly innocent pastimes such as crafts or home projects can cause injuries due to sharp objects. Therefore, it’s very important to understand how you can protect your children from damaging their eyesight.
“Each year, thousands of children damage their eyes through accidents – some of which can even cause blindness. Of course, prevention is always the best cure but when an accident does happen, it’s important that you know how to deal with it appropriately and don’t cause further damage.”
Dr. Venter offered some simple steps to follow if a child injures their eye:
Get an ophthalmologist or a doctor to examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first, as a serious injury is not always immediately obvious. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.