You are here: Home Newsroom Features Boots Opticians Launches Ground-breaking New Vision Screening Programme for Primary Schools

Boots Opticians Launches Ground-breaking New Vision Screening Programme for Primary Schools

10 September 2015
Feature Brand

As the new school year begins, Boots Opticians is launching a new, free schools vision screening programme to help reach the 1 million children1 who have undiagnosed eye conditions in the UK.

According to national screening guidelines, all school age children aged four and five should be offered a vision test, however a recent report by the Royal College of Optometrists found that fewer than a third of local authorities are providing them2.

Ben Fletcher, Managing Director, Boots Opticians says, “Boots Opticians is announcing today a ground breaking new approach to reach the UK’s 1 million children who have undiagnosed eye issues.  Our ambition is to transform their life experience, and, in particular, their literacy levels which lay the foundation for future life success.Good vision is the foundation for learning, and we want to help all children in the UK reach their potential by making sure their vision capability has been checked.  Over 90% of children see a dentist regularly, but only 53% of children have ever had an eye check3, something we want to change for the better.  Undiagnosed eye conditions may lead to academic underachievement and health issues.  During the first 12 years, as much as 80 percent of learning is done through vision4 and the earlier a problem is detected the better the chance of successful treatment. We believe this programme will make a real difference in improving access to eye care services.”

To help do this, Boots Opticians has created a completely free and quick online assessment system and accompanying toolkit that school personnel, such as teachers, school nurses or administrators, can use to vision screen children.  The Boots Opticians Schools Vision Screening system checks visual acuity to help identify vision defects including amblyopia, refractive error and strabismus. 

Once the vision screen is completed the easy to use system can, at the touch of a button, produce a letter to advise parents and carers if a further referral to an optician is recommended.  In all cases parents and carers will be reminded of importance of regular eye checks for their children.  The system has been developed with the aim of supporting every child and can be used for any level of literacy, making it suitable for all children at school.

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE, General Secretary for Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) says, “Current recommendations state that all children aged four to five should have a vision screening assessment, however, recent reports have found that fewer than a third of local authorities are achieving this. ABDO has long known that school vision screening is a postcode lottery and welcomes any action that increases the detection of sight problems in young children.”

Schools can register for the Schools Vision Screening Programme at  Once registered the school will be able to access  the system and will be sent a toolkit which includes everything a school needs to carry out vision screening.  It also includes lesson plans to bring the importance of eye health to life in the classroom.



1 Statistics provided by the Eyecare Trust and based on DCSF 2009 School Census 0-12 year olds


3 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Survey 2009

4 Pagliano (1994),




What’s new at Boots? Find out the latest updates from the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty chain – from new products and services to important business developments.



Read the views of our team members at Boots, who are experts in their field. Find out what they think about the most important issues of the day – from healthcare equality to sustainability.


Media Resources

A you are a journalist looking for information and resources about Boot? Visit our media resources hub to access images, reports, spokespeople and videos.


Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024