Eye care for children in special schools: An audit of provision

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are 28 times more likely to have eye problems than their typically developing peers. An ideal approach to the eye care for children attending special schools in England has been developed. Work in this area continues to evolve; therefore, an audit about existing services across the United Kingdom (UK) was undertaken. Method: A survey to ascertain key aspects of services for children with SEN that exist in the UK was developed and disseminated via Survey Monkey and at British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) events to all leads of the orthoptic profession. Results: Ninety-four service areas replied to the survey. Of these, 65 areas provide a special school service, 30 also provide a specialist service for SEN’s in hospital/community clinics; five provide only a specialist service in hospital/community clinics, and 24 reported no specialist service provision, outside that provided to everyone. In the school environment, 29 (44%) areas include vision and orthoptic assessment, whereas 31 (48%) include vision, orthoptic, and refraction assessment. All but two services were reported as orthoptic-led, 26 (40%) special school services involved optometric input within school, and no services had optical dispensing within school. Discussion: The results of this survey suggest that access to all aspects of eye care is not always available in school where a service exists. Families have to travel to the hospital or community optometrist for further assessment, which is not suitable in a number of cases, though it may be desirable, in some.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28133679
  • Author List

  • Allen LC; Dillon A; Bowen P
  • Start Page

  • 27
  • End Page

  • 32
  • Volume

  • 17