Open Sight Hampshire Petition for Mandatory Eye Tests for Children

You may have seen coverage on BBC South this week regarding Open Sight Hampshire’s petition to make it mandatory for all children to have an eye test before starting school.

Open Sight, Hampshire’s principal charity for the visually impaired, have explained the reasons for the petition as follows:

“Shockingly, 12% of children in the UK aged 5 start school with an undetected problem with their vision because there is no compulsory eye test currently in place – this must change.

Good vision promotes better learning. Children need good eyesight to fulfil their potential and get the most from school, activities, learning and friendships. Eye tests for children are free but many parents don’t take advantage of this as they assume that schools provide an eye test.

Compulsory pre-school eye tests would alleviate these problems as with the case of pre-school booster vaccinations, all parents must be invited to take their children for an eye test before they start school.”

At Moore Blatch we know how important it is that eye conditions are diagnosed in a timely fashion, and this is particularly important for children, as they may not realise there is a problem, or know to raise the issue. Issues with their eyesight can delay children’s development and progress at school.

Whilst the NHS recommends vision screening for children aged 4 to 5 years, currently this is optional. If an issue with vision is identified, then the child may be referred to a hospital or local eye service, or to an optician, to get the treatment and support that they need.

Eye tests can identify specific problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), misalignment of eyes, difficulty focusing, and colour blindness. Some conditions such as lazy eye are associated with a better outcome if treated sooner, whilst children’s eyesight is still developing.

Through our work representing victims of medical negligence, we see the impact that a delay in diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions can have on patients, and so we welcome Open Sight’s campaign.

You can find the petition here:

BBC News South Today – Open Sight Hampshire’s petition watch here:

For more information regarding the types of issues we come across in eyesight claims, you’ll find more information here on our website:

You can also contact our clinical negligence solicitors if you think that you might have a potential claim.