Independent optician, Haine & Smith, are backing a national campaign this summer to raise awareness of the link between screen time and short-sightedness in children.……
Myopia is a growing, global, epidemic linked to the amount of time spent looking at tablets, phones and TV screens. If left un-diagnosed, this can cause serious eye problems in later life.
Anna Lewin, Clinical Lead at Haine & Smith, advised: “Along with cutting back on screen time, we’re also encouraging parents and guardians to get their children’s eyes examined regularly. This will allow your optician to see the health of the eyes and whether they have deteriorated at all since the last exam. Our opticians can provide helpful tips on ways to keep your children’s eyes healthy which is extremely important while they are still growing and developing.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that up to half of all people will have myopia by 2050. This is a startling figure which is why we have to educate people now to hopefully bring this figure down.”
Anna has also given some signs to look out for which could indicate your child is short-sighted. “They could be struggling to see the board at school, squint when they try to see something in the distance, hold their screen close to their face or sit close to the TV and maybe even complain of headaches. Although sometimes there are no signs or symptoms, which is why regular eye tests are so important.”
The aim of the national campaign by Myopia Focus is for myopia to be recognised as an ocular disease by the NHS and for there to be free myopia management for all children in the UK. Haine & Smith has signed the petition and is giving its full support to get this agreed upon.
Children under the age of 16 are entitled to a free NHS eye test and, if needed, free glasses. To make an appointment with Haine & Smith either visit your local practice, call them to book a test, or fill out the contact form on the website www.haineandsmith.co.uk
1 in 3 people in the UK are affected by myopia
2.6 billion people worldwide have myopia or short-sightedness
In the last 50 years, the number of children in the UK with myopia has doubled.
By 2050 half of the world’s population will be myopic
**Information and figures from World Health Organisation and Myopia Focus (www.myopiafocus.org/)**
What the Myopia Focus petition aims to achieve:
Myopia recognised as an ocular disease by the NHS
To provide a myopia screening service across UK schools from the age of 4-5 to include all children and all areas
To provide a new GOS (general ophthalmic services) provision for children to pay a higher eye examination fee to take account of myopia screening and management, including a three-month recall for those with progressive myopia and undergoing treatment
To provide a new tier of spectacle/contact lens vouchers for myopia management – to ensure that all children receive free access to myopia management solutions to a minimum standard
To provide free eye examinations to those with high myopia of any age
To provide free eye examinations to all myopes up to the age of 25
To provide greater provision for vouchers for myopia management optical appliances for those over 25 on limited means
The Government to set up a task force to listen to the optical/ophthalmic bodies and align with the WCO stance
Secondary care NHS to include myopia management in eye departments
The government to invest in a large scale public health campaign to reduce the potential risk to our children’s and grandchildren’s long term sight health
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