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EYECAN spectacle voucher scheme for under 8’s

Today, on World Sight Day, look out for news about EYECAN’s forthcoming Spectacles voucher scheme for children under 8. The article below has been shared with the media.

Sight loss charity to trial spectacles voucher scheme for children under the age of 8. 

Good vision is a key to a child succeeding at school. Reading, writing, board work, and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. As learning progresses, increasing demands are placed on the child’s visual abilities. The size of print in schoolbooks becomes smaller and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly.

But vision doesn’t just happen. As Sarah Evans, Senior Orthoptist at the Hospital Eye Department explains, “ A child’s brain learns how to use eyes to see, just as it learns how to use legs to walk or a mouth to form words, so the longer a vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more chance the child will have sight problems that last a life time.

Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially and athletically. When visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning can become difficult and stressful. Children may try to avoid tasks which need close attention, or else attempt the work but with lowered levels of comprehension and efficiency. The strain on the child’s eyes may also adversely affect their attention span and cause discomfort and fatigue.

A comprehensive eye examination is so important for children. Early detection and treatment provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems. In Jersey children are screened at birth and then by the orthoptists in their reception year at school.”

Financial considerations may deter some families from being able to provide the best care for their children’s eyes. However, EYECAN, the charity supporting sight impaired islanders, is hoping to encourage all parents to seek eye care for children under the age of 8.

From January 2021 the Charity will be trialing a year-long voucher scheme funding up to £90 towards the cost of new glasses for Island children in this age group. Parents and carers will be able to claim one EYECAN voucher per child by simply providing their optician with their child’s Jersey registration number. The registration number will be shared with EYECAN for administrative purposes only and will not be retained by the Charity beyond the end of the year. The scheme will be trialed throughout 2021 before being reviewed.

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