Back to school: Children’s sight is top priority for Taank Optometrists

Poor eyesight can have a significant effect on children’s ability to learn and on their behaviour, yet often goes unrecognised by teachers, parents and by the children themselves, says the Association of Optometrists.

In response to this important health issue, Cambridge independent optometrist Anjana Taank is backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests for children. She is hoping to promote this vital ‘health check’ as part of the ‘back to school’ routine in the city throughout September and October.

NHS Sight Tests are free for children under the age of 16 and although many schools operate a screening programme, the purpose of this is often to identify eye problems at an early stage so children can be referred to a qualified optometrist for further tests and treatment.

Anjana, who runs the Taank Optometrists practice on Mill Road, has two young daughters herself and hopes to encourage other Cambridge parents to prioritise regular sight tests for their children as they return to school for the new term.

“The sooner vision problems are detected, the better the outcome,” explains Anjana, who qualified as an optometrist more than 15 years ago. “Many childhood eye conditions such as a lazy eye and squint can be treated if they are picked up early, as the eye and visual system are actively developing during the school years and if vision problems are identified and treated, it can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.”

As an added incentive, Taank Optometrists is running an exciting competition throughout the campaign to add an element of fun for the children who visit the practice. Every child who receives an eye test during the two-month period will be entered into a prize draw to win a bike. The winner will be announced on 1 November 2010, allowing parents plenty of time to make an appointment once the initial back to school routine has settled down.

Polly Dulley, Optometrist and Chairman of the Optical Confederation’s children’s campaign, who is leading the national campaign said: “We want to ensure that all children starting school this September are encouraged to see their local optician for a free NHS Sight Test. Poor eyesight can have a significant effect on children’s ability to learn and on their behaviour, yet often goes unrecognised.”