|Zacks Optom hopes to Increase Awareness of Kids Eyecare|
A London independent held a 'Mother and Toddler' Week in his Kings Cross based practices this month (November 20-28).
The inaugural event aimed to raise awareness of the importance of children having their sight tested from an early age. In total 10% of pre-school children are affected by vision impairment, yet for parents having their child's eyes tested is "low down in the priority order," optometrist and clinical director of Zacks Kings Cross Eye Clinic, Jonathan Cohen explained. If vision problems are left undiagnosed in children during critical periods of development their vision could be permanently impaired, he commented.
"One-in-five school age children have problems with their sight that have not been identified!" said Mr Cohen. "Of the 800 children I have tested in the Islington area, approximately 50% have required some form of treatment," he added. The week also highlighted the need for parents to get their eyes tested because conditions such as squints and high spectacle prescriptions can be hereditary. "The trouble is that they (children) often only present when a teacher or carer thinks there is a problem and by that stage it may be too late for the vision to develop to its full potential!" Mr Cohen, a former visiting lecturer at City University's children's clinic, added.
At Zacks King Cross Eye Clinic, testing children has became a priority, with the practices allowing parents to make an appointment for their child without being referred by a doctor, something which 'just a handful' of high street practitioners offer.
At the clinic, Mr Cohen also carries out a series of specialist investigations which are an addition to the basic sight test for children. A father of two young preschool children himself, Mr Cohen stressed: "Most high street opticians can not and will not see children until they reach school age because they don't have the confidence or equipment. However, this means that children could be suffering."
Optometry Today, 28th November 2008
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