The classic 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll has been re-released by The College of Optometrists in entirely blurred text, to raise awareness of the importance of children’s eye health. The new release named ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition’ has been launched after new research reveals that up to a fifth (23%) of parents have never taken their children to get their eyes tested.
Every single word of Carrolls’ classic, including the original illustrations by John Tenniel are out of focus in this newly released blurred edition. As Alice herself thinks: “what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” - in this case, while the book cannot be read, its use is to reflect the deteriorating eyesight of many of our children and how the much-loved book could appear in their eyes.
Indeed, where iconic characters like the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit have lingered in sharp focus in the memories of millions, in this blurred edition these friends and foes in Wonderland appear on the page as little more than fuzzy shapes.
For parents that do get their children’s eyes tested, the most common reasons for visiting the optometrist are due to children commenting on things being blurry, not being able to see the board at school, and sitting too close to the television (18%). Noticing that their children don’t enjoy reading is also a reason for taking a trip to the optometrists for 9% of parents. When it comes to their own eyesight, almost one third (31%) of adults have noticed their vision get worse during lockdown, and 40% believe their eyesight has markedly deteriorated in the past two years.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists comments: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition hasn’t been published for people to read, but instead for the public to consider what it could be like for a child living with deteriorating eyesight. Reading is so important for a child’s development, but to read well, you need to be able to see clearly. We’re committed to encouraging people to get their sight checked regularly and we hope this blurred classic will help illustrate what it’s like to not be able to see everything in focus. We need to alert people to the importance of taking care of their children’s eye health as well as their own.
“Things to look out for in toddlers and young children include having one eye turned in or out, rubbing their eyes a lot, watery eyes, clumsiness and poor hand-to-eye co-ordination, avoiding reading, writing or drawing, screwing up their eyes when they read or watch TV, sitting very close to the TV, or holding books or objects close to their face. Having behaviour or concentration problems at school, blurred or double vision, or unexplained headaches are also factors to look out for. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to book an appointment with an optometrist for your child.”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition’ will be displayed in the College Museum. Although the museum is currently closed, when it re-opens, visitors can look through the illegible pages of blurred text themselves to understand the importance of eye health and eye examinations. The online version can be downloaded from College-optometrists.org/Alice
All optometric practices are following government guidance and optometrists wearing PPE, to ensure each patient visit is safe. If you have any concerns about your vision, book an appointment with your local optometrist, you can find a directory of College members on our patient website: www.lookafteryoureyes.org.