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Eye research charity poll shows Brits put their eyesight at risk through dangerous contact lens habits. Poll results released today (11/07/2019) by charity Fight for Sight highlight that many Brits are frequently putting their eyesight at risk through unsafe contact lens habits, unaware that these could lead to a painful and sight-threatening eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis.

My mother, Esme, was in her early nineties and – despite glaucoma slowly diminishing her sight – lived a totally independent life. She was a great improviser and had adapted remarkably well to her sight-skewed world. However, we had no idea that something else was lurking - a condition which would remove her confidence, bring her great distress and add to the feelings of isolation, fear and loneliness which go hand in hand with sight loss.

DeuteranopeDid you know that by the average of statistics one in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls is colour blind? This could mean that your child is quite possibly having difficulty at this very moment with school work that uses colour to give information or instructions.

If you didn’t know, it’s not surprising. Colour vision deficiency (CVD) is a hidden disability and some children can struggle for years at school if a parent or teacher has not spotted there is a problem.

You might be shocked to learn that children are no longer screened for CVD at school (phased out long ago to save money) and that teachers don’t get any training on colour blindness despite, statistically speaking, there being at least one colour blind child in every UK classroom.

But don’t optometrists automatically screen for CVD?

normal visionThe Association of Optometrists’ (AOP) August 2018 #ABSee Campaign ( encourages parents to take their children for regular eye tests and quotes some interesting facts

  • a quarter (24%) of school age children haven't been taken for a sight test and one in 10 (10%) 16-year-olds still have unchecked vision; and
  • more than half (52%) of parents wrongly believe that every child has a full sight test at primary school

yet ignores an important piece of information. Colour Blind Awareness has an ongoing survey of UK pupils across different demographics and school types which confirms the AoP statements. However, it also shows that although by Year 7 three quarters of children have had an eye test, 80% of children have never had a colour vision test. This means most colour blind students will have spent the whole of their primary schooling with no support.

It also means that optometrists aren’t testing children’s colour vision as a matter of routine. In fact, it’s not unusual for the study to find children wearing prescription glasses who have CVD but were not aware of it. So, if you are planning to take your child for an eye test you should make a point of requesting a colour vision test at the same time. Although a colour vision test should be free of charge, but rather than expecting your optometrist to undertake a CVD test in isolation do expect your optometrist to insist upon a full eye test for your child in addition.

Orthokeratology may be defined as 'neutralising the eye's power by the programmed application of rigid contact lenses'. On taking the lenses out, the eye retains its 'neutral' strength allowing clear vision for an extended period of up to two or three days depending on the individual.

So what does that mean……? Programmed? Neutralised? Applications?

There she goes! That woman (could be any one of us) walking down the street pushing a buggy. She's exhausted, several sizes over her fighting weight wearing zero-effort saggy bottom trousers and undersized top. She has succumbed to nappy limbo but for one crucial detail - her sunglasses. Big, challenging, glamorous, shout-out loud shades in coal black wrap-around sides, these six inches of moulded plastic do a job no other item of clothing could do - they give back her edge despite the baby-sick down her shoulder.

What do you think of when you think of your Optometrist’s or Optician’s Eye Care practice. Somewhere to get your spectacles updated? Somewhere to get your contact lenses prescribed and checked? Somewhere you go which can cost you a few hard-earned pounds? Somewhere you go to have the health of your eyes examined and monitored? I wonder if this short list I have drawn up is roughly in keeping with the your perception of our profession, certainly there will be a range of views across the general public.

As we know the NHS is constantly looking for ways to save money and become more efficient, here as someone who is passionate about Community Pharmacy, Ross Ferguson responds to Nigel Praities, editor of Pulse, (GP and primary care journal) who said in a recent leader, pharmacists are “brilliant at what they do”, but questions “the current position, where their skills are based in a building a few streets away, tucked behind shelves of corn plasters and toothpaste.” And he asked: “Why are we continuing to support this bizarre arrangement when everyone recognises that NHS services must work better together to improve care?”