The survey I am doing suggests that in addition to those taking examinations this year who have never been to an optician there may be 50,000 ( yes 50,000!) who were wearing glasses in primary school but stopped.
It is possible that many of those who stopped, found that when they wore them, their teachers expected any reading difficulties they had would be solved. If they were not solved, then the child would decide that the glasses were not helping and stop wearing them. Parents in this situation would find it hard to argue with the children and win.
I have been told that bullying does not appear to be an issue for the children wearing glasses, although it may have been an issue for those who stopped at secondary level. How do we find out?
Many university students, I have met, have told me that the glasses they had actually seemed to make their eyes ache, or that they would feel nauseous, as well as making little difference. These were clever successful students who had struggled but succeeded at school. They were saying it as it was. At Further education level, I tend to meet students with bigger reading difficulties, bigger visual problems, which have never been resolved even though they could be. It seems likely that millions of pounds are spent each year trying support students when the fundamentals have been missed.
I remember in one FE college, a student who clearly needed glasses, had never been to an optician, who could read if the font on a computer screen was set at 27, and actually could read quite fluently; immediately after the teacher had been told of his difficulty, he was told to read out aloud from a Dickens novel to the class! The student tried but was laughed at and humiliated in front of his peers. Unsurprisingly he got angry, upset and walked out. Another success story!!!!!
This guy had been in special needs since he was 11 years old. This had been happening for years.