By Jacqui Mayhew 

Anti-Bullying Week commenced today with many organisations focusing on ways in which bullying can be eliminated at school, at home and in the workplace. Much of the emphasis is on school-related bullying since evidence suggests that many children carry the scars of bullying through into their adult lives with many perpetrators neither identified nor punished for making their targets' lives so miserable. Often, the stimulus for a child to become the object of bullying is a perceived or actual physical weakness such as having to wear glasses to address a vision defect. Young glasses wearers are often derided for being nerdish or just generally inferior which is why more consideration should be given to providing contact lenses for children  from an early age.

While wearing glasses has increasingly become more of a fashion statement in recent years with a proliferation of designer brands now available, children only begin to accept that wearing glasses can be ‘cool' as they move into their adolescence - typically as they begin secondary school. Indeed, a study by The College of Optometrists found that Harry Potter and modern cultural icons such as Johnny Depp had made wearing glasses ‘cool' for 85 per cent of school children. Unfortunately, bullying often starts when children are still in primary education and the influence of TV, film and sports celebrities is less established. Given that contact lenses for children  can be worn from as young as eight years of age when vision defects often become apparent for the first time, there is an alternative to wearing glasses.

Marvin Humes from the BRIT award-winning X Factor band JLS is one of a number of high profile individuals who suffered from bullying at school simply because he wore glasses and he would have avoided this if contact lenses for children  had been prescribed for him. However, fortunately the increased focus on bullying - including the annual campaign centred around Anti-Bullying Week - is helping to identify and eliminate many sources of such behaviour which were very prevalent 20-30 years ago as also demonstrated by The College of Optometrists study. Its research indicated that children in the 1980s had the worst time at school for wearing glasses with 71 per cent of those now aged over 35 claiming to have witnessed teasing bullying whilst only 46 per cent of more recent school leavers aged 18-24 year olds were aware of it.

Check if your child is suitable for ortho-k corrective contact lenses .

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