Children develop permanent problems with their eyesight because eye exams are not given them early enough, optometrists warn.
A survey of 1
Of the interviewed parents, 52% said that tests would take place in elementary school. 19659005] While some schools offer screening, the tests are less comprehensive than those provided for free on the NHS.
Delayed diagnosis can make treatment much less effective for vision problems like amblyopia, known as "lazy eye".  Screens and Eyesight: What Can Parents Do?
One out of every 50 children develops amblyopia, in which one or both eyes can not establish a strong connection to the brain, causing vision to develop properly.
The NHS recommends that children be examined for their condition at the age of four, as it becomes more difficult to be treated after the age of six.
The treatment includes glasses and an eye patch or eye drops vision I The stronger eye to make the weaker work harder.
"I felt like a terrible parent"
Jane Thompson's daughter, Eve, was diagnosed with amblyopia at the age of seven.
The optometrist in her case said it was too late to patch Eve with an eyeshadow patch, though prescription eyeglasses helped improve her eyesight.
Eve is 14.
Jane from West Yorkshire said, "I felt like a terrible parent, really, because you want to do your best and then figure out there's a problem that could have been sorted earlier, but you were not aware of that, it was really hard to handle. "
Eve said," I had always seen out of my right eye and was unaware that something was wrong
"My right eye – I can see and that's how it should be. But then, as soon as she covers it up and everything is blurry, it's pretty scary – I can not see out of this eye. "
In contrast, Nicola Rothera's daughter Chloe, five years old, was diagnosed with amblyopia at the age of three and was young enough to use an eye patch.
"If I had left her eyesight as it was, then the left eye would not have been within the allowed limits, so it would have limited her in future life," said Nicola from Bradford.  "An eye test at a certain age should be compulsory, as some children may not be able to do their first eye test up to six or even older, and at that point of time limit the time there is a problem in which one can correct one's view. "
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The Association of Optometrists (AOP) also surveyed 1,246 practicing optometrists and found out:
- 74% had seen children whose visual problems could have been treated more successfully with an earlier diagnosis
- Of those, 89% had diagnosed cases of amblyopia last year that could have been better treated if they had been detected earlier.
AOP Farah Topia said, "Early Catching can be hugely important for a child's development
" For amblyopia, early treatment means that the prospects of improving vision in this eye are much better.
"All children under the age of 16 are eligible for an NHS-funded eye test. " It is really important for us to make parents aware that they are available to them and accessible to their children. " The AOP's AB See Campaign calls parents to bring their children to an NHS-funded eye test to local Optiki and every two years or more often if their optometrist recommends it.