Two thirds of parents have admitted to ignoring their child’s complaints of not being able to see properly – with 29% admitting they are more likely to have their shoe size checked than their eyes.
A study of 2,000 parents found a quarter of children don’t get regular eye examinations, with one in 10 never having been to the opticians.
On average, parents take around four months to get their children’s vision issues looked at and diagnosed.
A third of parents who put off having their children’s eyesight tested said they did so because their kids complain about everything, so they didn’t take them seriously.
And 37% said they thought the issues were down to the children being tired.
When their children were eventually diagnosed, half of parents admitted to feeling guilty.
Almost a third of parents said they would be more likely to check their child’s shoe size than their sight. But 93 per cent insist they go for regular check-ups at the dentist.
It also emerged 55% have school-aged children suffering eyesight problems – with the most common being short-sightedness.
Not being able to see the whiteboard, blurred vision and headaches were among the top complaints children made about their eyesight, according to the study, carried out via OnePoll.
Myopia – commonly known as short-sightedness – can have huge impacts on vision if left untreated, and could lead to glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and in the worst cases even blindness.
According to research by vision lens manufacturer HOYA Lens UK and Ireland, parent’s major concern is the negative impact eyesight problems could have on their child’s education
Andrew Sanders, Professional Services Director at HOYA Lens , said: “It is a shock to us that more children go for regular dental check-ups than eye examinations.
“It is a real concern; especially as regular eye examinations can detect all sorts of other issues and early diagnosis of serious eye issues is vital.
“This includes eye conditions, such as myopia, which can worsen with time and have a detrimental impact on a child’s education when they can’t see what the teacher has written on the board.
“Optometrists are able to provide advice, expert care and solutions to support children and even slow down the progression of some conditions, including myopia.
“Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a common vision problem that often begins between the ages of six and 14. But it seems there is a widespread gap in the knowledge of eyesight issues, with many parents unaware what to look out for and why regular check-ups are so important for children.”
The findings come after a separate study found spending more time indoors, and on screens because of Covid restrictions, may have also taken a toll on children’s eyesight.
This study, of more than 120,000 children in China, suggests a threefold increase in the prevalence of short-sightedness (myopia) in 2020.
To find out more on how to prevent eyesight problems visit www.hoyavision.com/uk