PARENTS ARE BEING encouraged to take their children for a special vision check during Bright Eyes Children’s Eye Health Week, which runs from today until 17 November.
The ‘Bright Eyes 6 point vision check’ has been developed by the Association of Optometrists to identify children’s vision problems which are not normally picked up at the school screenings.
During the week, 230 independent optometrists across the country will be offering the 6 point check free of charge, or at a nominal cost, plus giving help and advice about children’s eyecare.
The test is quick and simple, but is very accurate at pinpointing specific visual problems.
Campaign organisers the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) said the slogan for this year’s campaign is ‘Be who you want to be’, as identifying eye conditions early helps to minimise problems which effect people in adulthood, and helps to inform career choices.
AOI Optometric Advisor Lynda McGivney-Nolan said that seven is the ‘golden age’ before which to identify eye problems.
If you identify a lazy eye, or other conditions, before the age of seven, proper management in a timely fashion can often reduce or even reverse the problem. Or If colour blindness is identified it means that certain professions such as being a pilot or electrician would not be suitable for a child and parents can account for this at school.
During Bright Eyes week optometrists will be visiting schools to talk to parents, teachers and pupils.
The AOI also called on the HSE to introduce a free annual sight examination for all school children, saying Ireland trails far behind the rest of Europe when it comes to the provision of children’s eye exams.
The AOI proposed that any child who fails the school screening should be referred to their local optometrist in order to prioritise the children who need rapid access to the specialised care.
It also said that the current school screening only picks up really obvious vision defects and does not pick up the vision problems most commonly associated with learning difficulties. Find out more at www.optometrists.ie.