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