Eye test to detect vision woes among our schoolchildren

Radical new online vision screening software is being provided free of charge to schools in Northumberland.

The three-minute screening test, developed by optometrists and vision scientists at City University London, has been shown to detect the most common eye problems among children.

The software, designed to be operated by teachers and other school staff or volunteers, is being made available through funding by Specsavers.

Following the test, it automatically generates reports to help parents or guardians make informed decisions about their child’s eyes.

Thomson Screening, a company formed by City University London, has worked alongside Specsavers to roll out the software – known as SchoolScreener EZ.

Prof David Thomson, who led the development, said: “There is good evidence that between 15 and 20 per cent of children have poor vision in one or both eyes.

“While it is difficult to show a direct link between vision and social and educational development, few would argue that these children are not disadvantaged to some extent.

“SchoolScreener EZ will allow schools to rapidly identify children with vision problems so that they can be referred for a full eye examination before their vision problem has a significant impact on their learning,”

A recent survey of 2,000 UK parents with children aged between three and 16 showed that over a quarter of parents saw an improvement in their child academically after being fitted for glasses.

While one fifth saw their child’s social confidence grow after being fitted with glasses, more than half of parents saw an improvement in the performance of their child’s social skills after a sight test.