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News story

We join Boots Opticians in calling for improved children’s eye health provision to help boost literacy

01 Nov 2016

Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2016: Spotlight on Boots Opticians

Our partner Boots Opticians has today launched a call for improved children’s eye health provision in the UK in their green paper Seeing the future.

Past research has estimated that over one and a half million UK schoolchildren have an undiagnosed problem with their vision, and this figure is rising. Good eye health is key to supporting children's wider life chances: research has shown that vision problems can have a negative impact on a child's literacy, educational attainment and well-being.  This can lead to a higher likelihood of unemployment or lower paid employment in later life.

Boots Opticians wants to ensure that all children have access to school entry vision screening and regular eye tests. With the launch of the new green paper, the organisation is calling for better information and education for parents, teachers and health professionals on eye health as well as the commissioning of a fully funded screening programme for all children aged four to five, regardless of where they live.

Almost a quarter of children in the UK leave primary school unable to read well – and in the poorest communities this can rise to 40%. Through our partnership with Boots Opticians, we are tackling these challenges head on. Since September 2015, we have given away half a million copies of ‘Zookeeper Zoe’, an interactive storybook containing eye check activities for parents to read with their children to help identify if they need an eye test. You can find out more about Zookeeper Zoe and use the free digital storybook here.

We also work closely with Boots Opticians on the newly-expanded Zoe’s Community Challenge, where Boots Opticians offers its staff two paid volunteering days with the National Literacy Trust. We give the volunteers specially designed resources to deliver events in their local Boots Opticians branches, schools, libraries and community clubs around reading for enjoyment and eye health. If you would like your local volunteers from Boots Opticians to be involved in your community project, please get in touch here.

You can read the full Seeing the future green paper from Boots Opticians here.

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