Childhood Sight Loss On the Increase

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According to: Blind Children UK

Increasing numbers of British children are being registered as blind or partially sighted, say campaigners.

Blind Children UK says much of the rise is down to more very premature babies surviving, with one in 20 of these now likely to be born blind.

It estimates the number of babies born with sight difficulties as a result of being premature has risen 22% over the past decade to more than 1,800 a year.

It says delays in diagnosis are leaving children unnecessarily impaired.

Blind Children UK is aiming to raise awareness of the warning signs that parents should watch for.

The organisation highlights signs such as red or cloudy eyes and babies or children reacting badly to bright light, and says parents should seek medical help if they are evident.

To evaluate the extent of sight problems, the charity looked at data from NHS England, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish government, the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Trusts and the Office for National Statistics.

It found that since 2006, there had been a 9% rise in the number of children registered blind or partially sighted.

The biggest increase has been among those aged under five, according to the charity formerly known as the National Blind Children's Society.

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Some signs of sight problems in children:

  • Red, inflamed, watery or cloudy eyes
  • Excessive rubbing or poking of the eyes
  • Puffy or swollen eyelids
  • Moving or "wobbling" eyes
  • Unusual posture when looking at something
  • Bright light causing discomfort

  • Source: Blind Children UK

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