Andrea joins local optician campaign for regular eye examinations from the age of 3
Andrea Jenkyns MP is asking for your support to raise awareness about this important issue that was raised by local optician, Moin Valli, Managing Director of The Valli Group of Opticians.
During a visit to the group’s Outwood Practice, not far from Andrea’s new office. Andrea has been invited by Moin to join a campaign to put a greater emphasis on children’s eye health to be included in the Personal Child Health Record (commonly known as the ‘red book’). The red book is where advice on childcare starts for most parents.
The book is a national standard health and development record of a child’s early years which is given to all new parents and carers.
Statistics show that one in seven children in the UK (that’s over 1 million children) have an undiagnosed vision problem that can impact their learning and development. This is around four children in every classroom! Yet there seems to be a general lack of awareness in the UK of the importance of regular eye examinations from an early age. We believe one reason for this may be the vague information about children’s eye health in the red book.
Some children have vision screening when they start school but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Where it does happen, the screening is carried out only once, at the age of 4-5. A child’s eyes can change after this age and this will not be identified by the screening programme.
The content and format of the PCHR (‘red book’) are overseen by a multi-disciplinary group, hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
Andrea said: “I'm supporting Valli’s pledge, supported by the British Association of Optometrists, to add on the PCHR "red book" an invite to take children for NHS funded sight tests. An early diagnosis could help children to recognise figures and to read earlier, avoiding potential issues at the start of school.”
Andrea has signed an online petition with the request to include in the “red book” the following text:
‘You can take your child to see your local Optometrist for regular eye examinations. Children under 16 are entitled to NHS funded sight tests and an optical voucher. An optical voucher entitles you to help towards the cost of glasses if they are needed.’
It is possible to sign the petition here to help raise awareness on the importance of regular eye examinations from the age of 3.