Mum blasts health chiefs in glasses row

Jayde Jarvis with her mum Helen
Jayde Jarvis with her mum Helen

A MUM has hit out at health chiefs who have refused to pay for a second pair of glasses for her “severely long-sighted” daughter.

Helen Jarvis says her 12-year-old daughter Jayde Jarvis, who was diagnosed with poor eyesight as a baby, needs two pairs of specs so one can act as a spare in case the other breaks.

Up until the age of nine, Jayde was provided with two pairs, but now only one is paid for.

The worried 31-year-old mum-of-two said Jayde “would not be able to see a thing” if her glasses were out of action and would almost certainly have to take time off school if such a problem arose.

And she told the Mail that on one occasion when Jayde’s glasses were damaged, she had to walk around with sticky tape holding them together, until her specialist lenses were made up.

She claims that despite Jayde’s doctor and her optician backing her request for the spare glasses, the primary care trust won’t cough up the cash. Buying them would cost her £100.

It said that spare specs are not currently provided but that patients may make requests for exceptional circumstances.

Helen, a health care assistant, of Shrewsbury Street, in Hartlepool, said: “Jayde has severe eye problems and needs half-inch thick glasses. After she was nine she only got one pair of glasses free, and I still have to pay £10 for the lens to be thinned down to look like a normal lens. They won’t pay for that either because they say it’s cosmetic.

“I really feel strongly that she needs a second pair in case her only pair breaks, because if we have to order her another pair they would take a week to come and she can’t do without glasses for a week. If that happens I can’t even get her out the house, it’s like taking her eyes out. It’s quite scary.”

She added: “Plus now she’s at secondary school there’s the worry that it happened over exam time. What would she do then?

“She lacks confidence anyway, and this is just making her worse. She daren’t run about or do things other kids her age are doing because she’s scared she might break her glasses and not be able to see. It’s upsetting for her and it’s awful.”

Jan Forster, director of North East Primary Care Services Agency – which manages optometry services on behalf of NHS Tees – said: “Second pairs of spectacles are not automatically provided under the current NHS services.

“However, patients may make requests for exceptional circumstances, and in these cases the optometry needs are assessed on an individual basis. NHS Tees is unable to comment on a specific case which is still under consideration.”

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