A recent study by eye charity SeeAbility has shown up large deficiencies in the level of eye care given to children with special and educational needs.
SeeAbility has supported over 1,200 special school children across England, providing adjusted eye tests and collecting data. It’s the biggest global study actively reporting on the eye care needs of children with learning disabilities.
Of the children using the SeeAbility service over a four academic year period they have found, with the help of Dr Maggie Woodhouse’s support in analysing the data that:
- Nearly half (47.5%) had a problem with their vision.
- A third (31.7%) needed glasses.
- Over four in ten (43.7%) had no history of any eye care.
- Only 7% had ever used a community optician.
Of those children with a sight problem more than a quarter (28%) had a problem that was previously unknown to school or their parents
As a practice that encourages eye care for all children, we are calling on NHS England to make wide reforms to community eye care for children and adults with learning disabilities and introduce adjusted eye tests in special schools. Failure to target these high-risk children with eye care that they are able to access is causing unnecessary vision impairment and putting their eye sight at risk.
Also if you want to sign up to pledge your support on eye care reforms so they can keep ensuring NHS England know there is a huge weight of concern on this issue, you can do this here too, including listing your organisation’s name if you wish.