Royal Devon launches vision screening service for young children

19 Jul 2022

A vision screening service for children aged four and five is being launched in North Devon.

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is being commissioned to launch the new service in line with Public Health England guidance.

The service will be led by the Orthoptic department at North Devon District Hospital.  The vision test mostly takes place in schools, capturing children in their reception year. Additional clinics are being held at North Devon District Hospital and Bideford Community Hospital, offering home-educated children and those who were absent on the day of the screening visit the opportunity to be tested.

Vision screening allows the detection of reduced vision in one or both eyes at an age when treatment has the potential to improve vision.

The screening looks for a condition known as amblyopia, where the vision in one or both eyes doesn’t develop properly. It is estimated that one in 50 children will develop this condition but often younger children are unaware there is anything wrong with their vision, as they have grown up with and become used to it.

Fiona Crotty, Lead Orthoptist for Vision Screening at the Royal Devon, said: “Amblyopia can be treated successfully in younger children but if undetected can result in permanent lifelong reduced vision. Children with a screen positive outcome are referred into our hospital orthoptic and optometry clinics for further investigation and treatment.

“We urge parents and carers to look out for information about the vision screening service when your child starts school. This is a very important test as vision problems in one eye can often be missed without proper screening.”

The new service, which has been commissioned by Devon Integrated Care System, was introduced in April and will be available to all children starting reception year in the new school year in September, and will be organised in co-operation with schools. 

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Last updated: August 11, 2022