Under 12s to get free vision tests at school
Screening will detect most common eye problems in primary pupils
The three-minute screening test, developed by optometrists and vision scientists at City University London, has been shown to detect the most common eye problems among children.
Through funding by Specsavers, the software, which has been designed to be operated by teachers and other school staff or volunteers, is being made available at no cost to all 27,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK.
Following the test, the software automatically generates reports for parents or guardians to help them make informed decisions about their child’s eyes.
The Screening for Schools campaign follows recent research by the College of Optometrists which found that less than a third of local authorities in England are providing vision screening for children, despite national recommendations that all four-year-olds should be checked.
Specsavers’ own research in 2014 revealed that one in five children aged 12 and under has never had an eye examination. November 2015 data revealed nearly four million UK children have never had their sight tested at school.
Thomson Screening, a company formed by City University London, has worked alongside Specsavers to roll out this revolutionary new software known as SchoolScreener EZ TM.
Heena Thaker, store director at Specsavers in Chesham, said: “There’s still a lack of general awareness among parents and teachers about the importance of regular eye tests.
The new survey data revealed that one quarter of parents have never thought about taking their child for an eye test.
“We’ve seen some cases where children have been misdiagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD or learning difficulties when in fact the child simply needs glasses. The fact is all children should have regular eye tests from the age of three or four years old.”
Thomson Screening has pioneered the use of computer-based vision, hearing and BMI screening systems and its software is already used by many NHS Trusts for school entry screening. Specsavers will ensure that all schools in the UK and Channel Islands have the opportunity to offer their pupils comprehensive, age appropriate, vision screening.
John D’Abbro, right and Dr Nigel Best, left, sit with pupils as they try out the eye test software