School eye screening not a substitute for a proper eye test

Many parents still assume that their child will have their vision checked at school, regardless of whether this actually happens or not. Vision screening provision is patchy – many areas do not provide it. Even where vision screening is provided in school, there are many conditions which, although they may cause significant problems to a child and their ability to learn, will not be picked up at a screening. Screenings are designed to pick up amblyopia (lazy eye); what about moderate long sight or short sight, binocular vision anomalies (eye mis-alignment) and the overall health of the eyes?

A proper sight test is free – why not have one?

The optical sector has been campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of children’s eye health with parents and teachers. Polly Dulley, Chair of the Optical Confederation’s Children’s Eyecare Initiative, said: “We are gathering scientific evidence of the importance of eye care for children, as well as producing a policy statement on children’s eye health. This will include the issue of vision screening and key stage interventions to ensure all children have access to eye care at the time they need it and, as a consequence, are fully able to develop their social and educational potential.”

For more information about the children’s campaign, visit email