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HomeHealthLondon parents fear kids conceal poor eyesight, amidst NHS free eye tests

London parents fear kids conceal poor eyesight, amidst NHS free eye tests

Specsavers, the popular eyewear retailer, has shed light on parents’ growing concerns about their children’s eyesight in a recent survey. The study, conducted in London, shows that more than a third of parents worry that their child might be hiding poor eyesight. Astonishingly, over a third of these concerned parents have never taken their child to an optometrist, and four in ten have never considered the possibility of their child needing glasses.

The survey identifies specific behaviors, such as sitting too close to the TV, frequent headaches, always sitting at the front of the class, and avoiding bedtime reading, as potential indicators of vision problems in children.

These behaviors have been humourously labeled as “Close Encounter Enthusiast,” “Headache Hero,” “Teacher’s Pet,” and “Reading Rebel” respectively. Additionally, Specsavers’ experts have highlighted other signs, such as tilting their head when reading (dubbed “The Head Tilter”), closing one eye when completing tasks (“The Pirate Poser”), and opting for the front row to see the whiteboard.

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Alarmingly, more than a quarter of UK parents (26%) worry that their child might be concealing eyesight issues, yet a significant portion of them overlook these signs. The survey revealed that 55% of parents in London dismiss these behaviors, with 25% never considering the possibility of their child needing glasses, and 29% never taking their child for an eye examination. Interestingly, 53% of parents prioritise other health appointments, such as doctor’s visits, dental check-ups, and vaccinations, over eye health checks.

Among parents whose children wear glasses (34%), a staggering 55% admitted missing the symptoms indicating potential eyesight problems. Almost all parents surveyed (98%) expressed a wish that they had recognised these signs earlier.

This issue is not new to the public eye, as three years ago, former singer and presenter Rochelle Humes shared her experience regarding her daughter’s eyesight problems. Humes candidly revealed how she initially overlooked her daughter’s complaints about her eyes, thinking it was a bedtime delay tactic.

In a statement, she said: “Alaia has been complaining about her eyes and that she wants to sit at the front of the class with her friends so she can see better, she also says that her eyes are blurry every time it’s time to go to bed.

London parents fear kids conceal poor eyesight, amidst NHS free eye tests Harrow Online
Image: Specsavers

“I honestly have been dismissing it, I thought she was stalling going to bed and wanted to sit at the front of class so she could gossip with her best friends. Turns out I was wrong. She needs glasses…How do I feel? AWFUL!”

Specsavers Clinical Services Director Giles Edmonds says: “A lot of parents assume that because their child doesn’t display any signs of a vision problem, there’s no need to have their eyes tested.

“However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ensuring your child has regular eye examinations from an early age is incredibly important for several reasons. Given more than 80 per cent of our learning, cognitive and social abilities are facilitated through our sight, it’s extremely important to your child’s overall development.

“Poor eyesight can cause learning and behavioural problems. Conditions such as squinting and amblyopia (lazy eye) can be treated more effectively if they are picked up earlier, which could make a huge difference to your child. Lastly, an eye test doesn’t just check vision. It can also detect other underlying health conditions.”.

This week marks Children’s Book Week (6th – 12th November) so do make sure your child’s eyesight is checked out, so they can enjoy their favourite stories. All children under 16, as well as those under 19 in full-time education, are entitled to an NHS funded eye test.

To find out more about children’s eye tests, visit: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-test/childrens-eye-test

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