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Thousands of children with learning disabilities in England’s special schools are missing out on vital eye tests.

News posted: 02/05/2018

Thousands of children with learning disabilities in England’s special schools are missing out on vital eye tests.

SeeAbility have released a new report that suggests thousands of children with learning disabilities in England’s special schools are missing out on vital eye tests and eye care despite being 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children.

Around 100,000 children attend special schools in England, including the majority of children with severe learning disabilities or autism. SeeAbility’s study indicates that up to half of these children are likely to have a problem with their vision; an estimated 40,000 children will have never received any eye care.

SeeAbility has supported over 1,200 special school children across England, providing adjusted eye tests and collecting data. It’s the biggest global study actively reporting on the eye care needs of children with learning disabilities and we have now delivered nearly 2,500 sight tests and dispensed nearly 1000 pairs of spectacles.

Of the children using the SeeAbility service over a four academic year period we have found, with the help of Dr Maggie Woodhouse’s support in analysing our data that:

  • Nearly half (47.5%) had a problem with their vision.
  • A third (31.7%) needed glasses.
  • Over four in ten (43.7%) had no history of any eye care.
  • Only 7% had ever used a community optician.

Of those children with a sight problem more than a quarter (28%) had a problem that was previously unknown to school or their parents.

SeeAbility are calling on the NHS England to make wide reforms to community eye care for children and adults with learning disabilities and introduce adjusted eye tests in special schools.

You can pledge your support here.

SeeAbility has supported over 1,200 special school children across England, providing adjusted eye tests and collecting data. It’s the biggest global study actively reporting on the eye care needs of children with learning disabilities and we have now delivered nearly 2,500 sight tests and dispensed nearly 1000 pairs of spectacles.

Of the children using the SeeAbility service over a four academic year period we have found, with the help of Dr Maggie Woodhouse’s support in analysing our data that:

  • Nearly half (47.5%) had a problem with their vision.
  • A third (31.7%) needed glasses.
  • Over four in ten (43.7%) had no history of any eye care.
  • Only 7% had ever used a community optician.

Of those children with a sight problem more than a quarter (28%) had a problem that was previously unknown to school or their parents.

SeeAbility are calling on the NHS England to make wide reforms to community eye care for children and adults with learning disabilities and introduce adjusted eye tests in special schools.

You can pledge your support here.