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Eyesight: Children

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing mandatory pre-school eye tests in England.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the effect of the absence of mandatory pre-school eye tests on health inequality in the UK.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

In June 2019, the United Kingdom National Screening Committee re-affirmed its recommendation that children should be offered orthoptic-led vision screening between four and five years of age. Vision defects looked for in the school age screening test includes amblyopia and refractive error. More information can be found at the following link:

https://legacyscreening.phe.org.uk/vision-child

Local authorities have responsibility for commissioning this as local screening services. Public Health England has made available guidance to support local authorities in commissioning such services. All children under the age of 16 are also entitled to free National Health Service sight tests from high street practices.

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