Children should be having their eyes first tested at around the age of three years old.
According to Specsavers, the earlier many common childhood vision problems are discovered, the better the chance of correcting them.
But the opticians are also concerned with the three quarters of parents who are not doing enough to protect their children’s eyes whilst out in the sun.
Research found that whilst 43 per cent of parents limited their kid’s time in the sun and 76 per cent slapped on the sunscreen, parents were forgetting the importance of eye care.
“We have always had a strong kids go free policy to ensure that cost isn’t an issue for parents when it comes to ensuring their children have access to the best possible eye care, so it is only right that we take this one step further by ensuring that young eyes are also protected from sun damage” says Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers.
“According to the World Health Organisation, up to 80% of a person’s exposure to UV rays occurs before the age of 18 so it is especially important that parents take every step to minimise any long-term damage.”
UV rays can seriously damage the lens and retina in the eye, in turn increasing the risk of cataracts and even blindness in later life.
Wearing toy sunglasses also causes more harm than good as without proper UV filters they can dilate the eyes allowing even more harmful rays to enter.
UV damage can also happen when children are on beaches, snow or water, as UV radiation can reflect off of these surfaces.
It is important to get your children to see an optician as often as they recommend.
Tests are paid for by the NHS up to the age of 16, or 19 if they are in full-time education. If children need glasses, the NHS contributes towards the cost.
Specsavers is currently offering a free UV treatment with all scratch-resistant Pentax children’s lenses to help protect their eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.