Boots Opticians has created a free, fun eye check storybook called Zookeeper Zoe that is available from 16 March. Up to 80 percent of what a child learns is through their sight1, so this innovative book, developed with the National Literacy Trust, contains a range of interactive eye check activities to help parents and carers understand if their child might need support with their vision, so nothing holds them back. The book is also designed to remind families that all children should have a regular eye health check as research shows 53% of children2 have never had their eyes checked.
To ensure all children across the country have access to Zookeeper Zoe, 350,000 printed copies are being given away in Boots UK and Boots Opticians stores. It is also available as an interactive app and can be read online and downloaded from zookeeperzoe.co.uk.
Karl Thomas, Customer Director, Boots Opticians says: “We want every child in the UK to be as happy and healthy as possible. Good eyesight is essential to their development, so we want to ensure their vision is the best it can be. Unfortunately, estimates suggest that one million children in the UK have an undiagnosed eye condition3 - that’s why we’re making Zookeeper Zoe freely accessible, so it’s easy for parents and carers to understand their child’s eye health care whilst also enjoying reading together. Only a qualified optician can fully diagnose an eye condition but Zookeeper Zoe will help raise awareness of the need to monitor eye health and get regular check-ups.”
Lisa Rootes, National Literacy Trust says: “Eye sight and reading go hand in hand which is why we are delighted to be collaborating on this project. It’s just one of the ways that we are working with Boots Opticians to make sure every child feels confident about their reading so every child can reach their full potential.”
Created for children aged four to six in collaboration with celebrity Dad, Peter Andre, the book tells the story of a little girl’s day out at the zoo during which she unexpectedly has to step in and help look after the animals. For Zoe, who is “crazy about crocs and barmy about bears” this is a dream come true. As the story unfolds, the copy and illustrations guide parents through basic checks designed to help identify any problems with sharpness of vision, the ability to focus properly and to detect different colours.
“It’s a great story and is fun to read but it’s also such a brilliant idea” says Peter Andre. “When I heard about it I was really keen to get involved. As a parent I know there are a million things to think about but making sure your children can see properly is incredibly important… and they won’t always tell you if they can’t, because they don’t realise. I really hope this book will get more parents to start thinking about their children’s eye health and about getting it properly checked out.”
The following checks and questions appear within the story:
Zookeeper Zoe is a first step in understanding your child’s vision, and is not intended to replace a comprehensive eye check. It is recommended that children have their eyes checked at least every two years from the age of three. Eye health checks are provided free (courtesy of the NHS) in the UK up to 16 years old4. If your child needs glasses, you can also get an NHS voucher towards the cost, so often they are free of charge.
To book an eye health check, speak to your Boots Optician or make an appointment by calling
0345 125 3752 or visit www.boots.com/en/Opticians.
From 16 March 2016, 350,000 printed copies of the book will be available for free from over 2,500 Boots UK and around 637 Boots Opticians stores. It’s free to read online or download from zookeeperzoe.co.uk. It is also available to download for free from Apple’s iBooks / Google Play Books and is available as an iOS and Android app.
- 1 Pagliano (1994), http://complexld.ssatrust.org.uk/uploads/sensory-info.pdf
- 2 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Survey 2009 based on age?
- 3 Statistics provided by the Eyecare Trust and based on DCSF 2009 School Census 0-12 year olds
- 4Eye health checks are provided free (courtesy of the NHS) in the UK up to 19 years old for those in full education.