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High Numbers Of UK Parents Don't Take Children To The Eye Doctor


An incredible 41 percent of British parents haven't taken their children to get vision checkups in at least two years. This data comes from a recent Specsavers Optical Group survey on child vision health in the UK.

Investigators also found that around 30 percent of parents never sent their child to an optician.

The most popular reason why parents didn't send their children in for eye tests was that they thought their child's eyes were healthy. The second most common reason was that parents thought their child was too young to get an eye screening. These two reasons respectively took up 44 percent and 41 percent of the total score.

Although many people aren't sending their children to opticians today, this survey also revealed that parents have great concerns about their child's visual health. 57 percent of respondents said they worried too much screen time was adversely affecting their children's eyes. 55 percent said they would restrict how much time their children spent staring at hi-tech devices if they saw evidence that it adversely affected eye health.

Specsavers conducted this YouGov poll to coincide with its National Children's Eye Health Week. Children's Eye Health Week was designed to better inform parents about the dangers of undiagnosed eye conditions in childhood.

Josie Forte, an optometrist in Specsavers's Torquay office, said there's no such thing as "too early" when it comes to giving children eye screenings. Actually, Dr. Forte said it's a good idea for parents to bring their child in for vision screenings a few times between the ages of three and eight. Eye doctors can easily check for diseases like myopia and lazy eye during this time.

Former S Club 8 pop singer Rochelle Humes is this year's National Children's Health Week ambassador. Humes said she was shocked to see such high numbers of parents not bringing their children to optometrists in this year's survey.

To help motivate more parents to bring their children in for screenings, Humes is sharing her daughter's experience at her first vision test. She hopes that by telling her daughter's story more parents will see that bringing their child to an eye doctor is nothing to get scared about.

Specsavers recently produced a video with Humes demonstrating what a routine child's eye exam looks like. Anyone can watch this video by checking out the Specsavers official YouTube page.

While there's no direct correlation between staring at electronic screens and eye problems, eye doctors believe increased computer use plays a key role in the rapid rise of childhood myopia across the globe. A few other reasons children are having vision issues include a lack of natural sunlight and nutrient-deficient diets.

Even if children don't show obvious visual symptoms, it's still important for parents to bring their kids in for a routine eye exam to be on the safe side. Unaddressed vision problems heighten a child's risk of blinding diseases later on in life. Also, children with vision problems tend to perform poorly at school and have a higher incidence of developing anxiety and/or depression.

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