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Parents 'not focused on children's eye care'

Parents 'not focused on children's eye care'

New research commissioned by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) reveals that almost 60% of parents in the UK are unaware that their children need to have an eye examination at least every two years.

As part of a nationwide awareness campaign targeting the back to school period, ABDO is highlighting to the public the importance of ensuring children get their eyes tested at least every two years. A number of radio interviews are taking place today (September 4).

Websites, social media and blogs have also been targeted for spreading the message in 'user-friendly' formats. The campaign will continue throughout this month.

ABDO's head of marketing and communications, Michael Potter, told OT: "The survey findings endorse the concerns we have as a profession regarding parents' understanding in relation to their children's eye care."

Mr Potter added: "As a step towards raising greater awareness, ABDO has ensured that an overview of the survey results have been provided to regional and national radio stations and we are delighted that many have decided to run this important news story on September 4, which will hopefully benefit their listeners and their listeners' families."

The research showed that many parents in the UK do not recognise the importance of having their child's eyes tested from a young age, with almost six in 10 (59%) unaware that they need to take their child for an eye examination at least every two years.

The survey of 2,000 parents found that a third (33%) incorrectly believed that children need to get their eyes tested for the first time when they start school. Alarmingly, 12% said children only need to get their eyes tested if their parents wear spectacles.

Vital Research and Statistics conducted the research in July among a sample of UK parents with children aged up to 11.

The survey also highlighted that over half of the parents did not realise that squint and lazy eye can be detected during an eye examination. Almost three quarters (72%) were not aware that spectacles can potentially help correct a squint. The research also found that 75% of parents did not consider making their child wear sunglasses in sunny conditions.

With 85% of parents admitting to not knowing much about getting their child's eyes tested, ABDO is also highlighting the importance of ensuring that children get their eyes tested by a registered practitioner.

As part of the campaign, ABDO board member, Jo Holmes, told parents: "It's never too soon to get your child's eyes tested. Children can have an eye test before they learn to read, and the sooner some eye problems are picked up, the easier it is to treat them."

ABDO is advising parents that if their child has never had an eye examination, or if they have concerns or simply want to know more, to search for EyecareFAQ on Facebook or call into their local practice.

As part of the awareness campaign, an infographic which provides an overview of the survey findings can be found on the association's website, www.abdo.org.uk

(Article taken from Optometry Today www.optometry.co.uk)

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