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Safety spectacles for children?

U2.5.5 Safety spectacles for children? (2016)

Queries about safety spectacles are remarkably common at ABDO but this one was a little more unusual.

The query concerned a child, at senior school, who had to wear protective eyewear for science lessons. The problem arose when this child tried to wear the safety goggles over his spectacles. They simply didn’t fit. The school rules were simple: no protective goggles, no lesson.

The parents sought the advice of their dispensing optician who hit something of a brick wall: how to make a pair of safety specs with +8.00D lenses in a frame that would be suitable for a 13-year-old boy, at a reasonable cost.

The first thing to remember is that safety spectacles will often be made by unregistered companies, instructed by safety officers. Since the wearers are adult with good sight, this supply is legal if annoying and certainly counterproductive. In this case, as it is a child the safety spectacles must be dispensed by a registered optician.

Practically, the problem remains, how to help the patient but not spend a fortune on safety spectacles worn once or twice a week and soon outgrown?

The member who had raised the subject had done significant research herself, contacting all manner of suppliers. It could be done but at a cost; the NHS voucher had been used for the usual everyday spectacles so no further voucher could be issued. The school seemed indifferent, not probably understanding the problems the child would have either removing his spectacles under the goggles provided, or trying to keep everything in place with spectacles and goggles on a small nose.

This cannot be the only case of this type of problem. Schools are increasingly cautious about health and safety regulations, rightly so, but how could this child, and the others like him we don’t know about, be encouraged to study science?

I was reminded of the similar problem with sport. The use of sports spectacles in school is still very sporadic and not all parents are prepared to pay money for these items. One memorable quote I recall was from a Dad who said: “He’s no good at football anyway.” I did point out that his skill might be improved if he could see, safely, on the pitch. It didn’t help.

There is also the ongoing problem of prescription swimming goggles. These items are widely purchased in sports shops and online with no thought of checking with the optician. It is certainly an illegal sale, but perhaps understandable.

The case of the scientific schoolboy is still ongoing. One suggestion that I liked was to supply a very small, almost inter-orbital, spectacle frame that would fit under the safety goggles easily and could be updated as and when the prescription changed; not for use outside the science lab and still expensive but practical.

#dispensing #Safety specs #children