When your child is born, a paediatrician at the hospital checks their eyes. At this point, it is very rare they will find a problem with your newborn child’s vision. A few weeks later your GP will check their eyes again.
Good vision is vital for your child’s development, as 80% of a child’s learning during the early years is visual. So, it’s never too soon for your child to have an eye test.
You will find some schools provide regular vision screening for small children. However, these tests are not as thorough as the full eye examination done by your optometrist, and they could miss important eye conditions.
Your child’s eye problems can be difficult to spot, especially as children often don’t know they have a problem with their eyes. Children have no way of comparing their vision with others.
It is a known fact that one in five children have an undetected eye problem, and small eye problems can lead to larger problems, if left undiagnosed.
What to look for:
Parents can look for signs in their child’s behaviour, that could be indicative of eye problems:
- Child sitting close to the TV
- Child is clumsy and bumping into things
- Does your child have a squint?
- Does your child repeatedly rub their eyes?
- Having difficulty doing things close-up
- Poor handwriting
- Poor level of reading
- Skipping words, or whole lines of text, when reading
- Difficulty copying text from the board
If your child has difficulty seeing the board at school, this can lead to a decline in learning, which in turn means they could fall behind in class, though this can also be associated with lack of confidence at school, emotional problems or other issues. Eye problems can often be misunderstood, as being slow in class or having learning difficulties.
Children’s eye tests made easy
With any medical tests or procedures, your child could find the thought of having an eye test daunting. Our optometrists have a modified eye test, which feels like your child is playing games, thus making the process more child friendly.
It is important to tell your child the eye test doesn’t hurt and they don’t have to be able to read letters. Your optometrist will use colourful pictures familiar to your child to make the whole experience enjoyable.
Your optometrist will begin by collecting general health information from you, including details of any family history of eye problems. They will then ask you to confirm if your child has had any problems looking at small objects or playing games. Your optometrist will try to do several child friendly tests, specifically looking for any signs of a squint, or a lazy eye.
When should you start having your child’s eyes tested?
Generally, your child can have an eye test at any age, however three years of age is a good starting point.
So, try and get your child’s eye test done early, so that any eye problems can be detected as soon as possible and managed promptly. It is worth knowing that children under the age of 16 are entitled to a free NHS eye test.
We offer a wide selection of children’s glasses
Children’s glasses are specifically designed to fit their small faces. Our dispensing opticians will ensure the correct glasses are chosen and fitted to feel comfortable. We think this is so important, otherwise your child won’t enjoy wearing their glasses and may possibly stop wearing them.
Children also receive NHS discount on their glasses.