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Little Aussie Eyes Report 2020

In early 2020, Kids Eye Gear undertook a research project with Australian and international parents to discover their thoughts and feelings around patching and wearing glasses. This is the inaugural Little Aussie Eyes Report.

Little Aussie Eyes Report 2020

Released in May 2020, the Little Aussie Eyes Report 2020 presented the findings from the survey, which was conducted to better understand the journey parents experience when diagnosed with eye conditions.

The findings from the Little Aussie Eyes Report highlighted the importance of early vision screening for children in identifying serious eye disorders.

The importance of early vision screening for children

The research further reinforced Optometry Australia’s estimation that one in five Australian children has an undetected vision problem.

The Little Aussie Eyes Report showed that when a child is diagnosed with a serious eye condition, parents’ initial reactions are typically shock and sadness because they didn’t know there was an issue.

There are not always obvious signs that a child has a vision problem because kids don’t know that what they see isn’t ‘normal’. They learn to adapt with the sight they have and parents can be completely unaware that there is an underlying issue.

One mother explained that she felt like the worst mother in the world because she hadn’t picked up any issues despite her son’s eyesight being quite bad. The problem was only picked up during a kindy health check. This is not unusual at all but does highlight the need for greater awareness about the importance of early vision testing for children. 

We had no idea our son had a problem

If you’re familiar with my own son Dane’s story, you’ll know that his congenital cataract was only picked up during a check at his immunisations. We had absolutely no idea that there was an issue but had it not been picked up he would have gone blind in one eye.

I was well aware of what the experience was like for us but I wanted to see how other people felt about their own experience and what the research really highlighted was the importance of educating parents to have their children’s eyes checked from a very young age.

Parents find patching stressful

The Little Aussie Eyes research showed that 58% of parents said they find it stressful to patch their child.

As a parent who went through five years of patching I can say that it is not a fun process so I wasn’t surprised to find that 65% of respondents said that their greatest challenge was getting their child to actually wear the patch, indicating that compliance is a significant issue.

Australian parents okay taking their patching outside the home

Interestingly, the research indicated that Australian parents were happier than their US counterparts to take their child out in public when patching – 75% of Australian parents are happy to take their patching kids out in public compared with 66% of Americans.

We have heard anecdotal evidence that patching in the US is not as accepted as it is in Australia but our research indicated this to be true.

Australian parents have a positive attitude towards patching

Australian parents appear to have a positive attitude towards patching, with 95% saying they just ‘get on with it’ because it’s something that needs to be done.

As a parent, we all want our babies to be healthy and problem-free and being told there’s something not quite right with our child can be confronting.

At the very least I hope that this report helps other parents on this journey feel like they’re not alone but the best outcome would be encouraging other parents to have their young child’s eyes checked.

Want to know more?

The Little Aussies Eyes Report is available online for anybody interested in reading it. 

A subsequent study will take place in February 2021. 

Access the full report here