Shiny shoes, smart new uniforms and freshly-sharpened pencils have, once again, been accompanied by prescient messages about eye care as the nation’s kids head back to school. But are professionals getting the support they need to advise pupils and parents?

While the new term may carry a pleasant frisson of nostalgic déjà vu, or a sense of Groundhog Day, it’s a rare and valuable opportunity to teach kids about eye care and impart a few lessons to parents.

September has always been a great time to remind parents they need to put a trip to the optician on their back to school checklist. But practices may need to sharpen their own pencils when it comes to messages for the modern mums, and occasionally dads, who heed the call.

Caring for kids’ vision used to mean a quick mention of not sitting too close to the telly, not reading under the bedclothes or not rubbing your eyes. Technology has turned that on its head.

Optical Express’s research into children’s screen time is pretty frightening stuff. The findings catalogue not only the amount of time spent on screen but how that also keeps kids indoors, a double whammy for vision. The attitude, and actions, of parents is as frightening as the quantity of their kids’ technology use. The smartphone is rapidly becoming a comforter, babysitter and imaginary friend rolled into one.

Lifestyle is always a tricky topic, developing strategies for adults is tough enough. Removing a child’s source of social interaction and the parents’ only effective bargaining chip takes it to another level. This requires a persuasive, effective and cogent approach which is delivered with consistency across the whole profession.

If those conversation don’t take place then the next ones will be about contact lenses, spectacles or myopia control.