Sophie Thompson for Specsavers

Sophie Thompson on children’s eye health

This National Eye Health Week (September 23-29), actress and mother of two, Sophie Thompson, is urging parents not to neglect their children’s eye health.

Recent reports also state that 65% of the population are visual learners and need to see pictures and graphs to visualise. In children’s early years, their eyes are how they discover new things and learn about their surroundings.

Allissa Charlesworth, Ophthalmic Optician at Specsavers in Chesterfield, comments: ‘Early detection of any sight issues is critical. At school about 80% of what children are taught is presented visually, therefore it is important to take your children for regular eye tests to detect any problems.

‘Between the ages of three and eight there is a real window of opportunity to identify and treat conditions such as myopia and lazy eye, which can have no outward symptoms.

‘Undiagnosed conditions such as myopia, or short sightedness, can severely impair education and general wellbeing.’

Sophie says that she found that when her children were little it was difficult to know if they couldn’t see properly, especially when they couldn’t communicate fully yet.

Typically, children’s eyes will be checked within 72 hours of birth to detect any immediate problems. When they get slightly older, it’s important to be aware of any issues children may have as they may not be able to verbalise this yet.

Sophie lives in London with her sons, Ernie, 22, and Walter, 19, said: ‘My youngest has glasses. When he was younger, one of his teachers at school suggested he might need to go for an eye test.

‘I was shocked when I discovered one of my sons needed glasses and so relieved that his optician was able to spot the signs and help.

‘We discovered he had a lazy eye and that was a jolt because I hadn’t noticed a problem and we could have caught that earlier if he’d been having eye tests.

‘It wasn’t too late but it was rather later than would have been ideal.

Since then, Sophie says: ‘Making sure they had regular eye tests became a top priority as it’s the best way for them to learn and take in the world around them.’

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