28 April 2021

Can't see through the looking glass

Beloved British children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been re-released with entirely BLURRED text and illustrations to highlight the importance of children’s eyesight.

  • The College of Optometrists has today re-released one of the best known and most popular works of English literature fiction - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - with entirely blurred text and illustrations
  • The Blurred Edition has been commissioned as part of a public awareness campaign, after research1revealed that up to 23% of parents don’t take their children to get their eyes tested
  • The out of focus novel can be downloaded below.

The classic 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll has today 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%)2 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 below. 

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

The College has created a series of patient-focused videos related to COVID-19 and eye care: 

The campaign

  • We have created blurred illustrations from the famous book that you can share on your social channels to spread awareness of our campaign to promote the importance of good vision, eye health and the vital role that optometrists play.
  • We will be posting a range of images and short videos via the College’s social media channels so please follow the College on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook and like and share what you see.
  • We have several soft-bound copies of the blurred classic available for you to win, keep an eye out on our social channels to find out how to win a copy for your practice.
Suggested social media posts

Instagram
Have you seen the out of focus book created by @collegeofoptometrists? They have blurred the children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to highlight the importance of children’s vision. If you think your child needs a sight test, visit LookAfterYourEyes.org to find your local optometrist. #FocusOnLife

Join me in supporting the @collegeofoptometrists in their campaign to #FocusOnLife. They have blurred an entire copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to highlight the importance of your child’s vision. If you think your child needs their sight tested, visit LookAfterYourEyes.org to find your local optometrist. #FocusOnLife

Twitter
Have you seen the out of focus book created by @CollegeOptomUK ? They've blurred the children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to highlight the importance of children’s vision. If you think your child needs a sight test, visit your local optometrist #FocusOnLife

Join me in supporting the @CollegeOptomUK in their campaign to #FocusOnLife. They have blurred an entire copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to highlight the importance of your child’s vision. If you think your child needs a sight test, visit your local optometrist.

Visit our social media channels

Click below to download some pre-blurred pictures from the book:

Click below to download the PDF of the book:

If you would like more information about the campaign or how you can get involved, please contact annmarie.stevens@college-optometrists.org.

References 

  1. Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of College of Optometrists in September 2020. The sample was 2,000 British adults.
  2. Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of College of Optometrists in April 2021. The sample was 2,000 British adults.
  3. Parents were polled two separate times during the COVID-19 pandemic.In September 2020 the results showed that 23% of parents don’t take their children to see an optometrist and in April 2021 the result came out as 14%.

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