Parents encouraged to get their children's eyes tested this summer.
A new campaign is encouraging parents to get their children’s eyes tested this summer at their local opticians.
The Help Us Help You optometry campaign is designed to help everyone in Wales – but especially children – to get their eyes checked to help prevent future problems.
Research shows around 20% of school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem. Regular eye health checks, for both adults and children, can help prevent or detect a range of eye issues, including glaucoma, diabetes and myopia, earlier.
Optometrists are eye specialists and who can test children's eyesight and diagnose a range of eye issues and conditions early enough to ensure successful treatment. The NHS will provide glasses for children who need them to help with their vision and eye care treatment for free.
With demand for eye care services growing, the Welsh Government is changing how eye care is delivered in Wales. This includes a new optometry contract enabling optometrists on the high street to manage, monitor and treat an increased number of eye conditions. This means more people will be able to receive free eye care and treatments more quickly and closer to home. It will also help improve outcomes and reduce some of the pressures on GP practices and hospitals.
Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:
“We recommend everyone visits their local opticians for regular preventative eye health checks. The younger you are when you start having eye tests the better, which is why I would encourage all parents and carers to get their child’s eyes tested this summer ahead of the new school year. Optometrists are experts in eye health.
“We are planning to transform the way optometry is provided in Wales, supporting hospital eye services through local high street optometry practices so people can receive high-quality eye care in their communities. By changing the way opticians are funded, optometrists can prioritise clinical eye health and care.”
David O’Sullivan, Wales’ Chief Optometric Adviser said:
“Good eyesight is critical in ensuring a child develops to their full potential. Eyes are still developing throughout early childhood so if problems are treated early, it can make a lasting difference, and it is never too early to have a sight test with your local optometrist.
Only 28% of children currently access regular eye tests with their high street optometrist. This could mean a significant number of children may have problems with their vision that could be corrected. Free eye checks from a local optician are the best way for parents to get their children’s eyes checked and I encourage everyone to take up regular eye checks.”
Notes to editors
Interviews with optometrists available on request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.