Children's Eyecare Information
Children rarely complain about their sight, but often there may be a problem with their vision shown through their behaviour.
This can include:
- sitting too close to the TV
- rubbing their eyes a lot
- holding objects very close to their face
- blinking a lot
- one eye turning either in or out
- they are clumsy or have poor hand and eye co-ordination
- your child avoids reading, writing or drawing
- they screw up their eyes or frown when they read or watch TV
- they have behavior or concentration problems at school
- they don’t do as well as they should at school
- they complain about blurred or double vision,
- or they have unexplained headaches.
Once your child's vision has been checked, it's important to continue with regular sight tests. Your child should have a check-up at least every two years, as problems can occur at any age. Even if none of the symptoms described above are displayed, there could still be an underlying eye condition.
If you're concerned about your child's vision, arrange an appointment with a local optometrist, they will see children of any age. Many concerns can be resolved completely by the optometrist without the need to refer your child to a specialist.
Don't worry about the costs, as all NHS sight tests are free of charge for children under the age of 16 and under the age of 19 if in full time education.
Children’s eye examinations are important because many children will not realise they have reduced vision, and parents will not normally be able to see it by just looking at the child. There is an orthoptist-led service on school entry to assess childrens vision between the ages of four and five, but this is not the only eye examination your child needs.
The earlier any problems are picked up, the better the outcome. If you have any concerns about your child's eyes or there is a history of squint or lazy eye in the family, it's important you do not wait for the vision screening at school. Take your child to an optometrist for an eye examination.
Children do not have to be able to read to have their eyes examined. It's possible to see whether the child has a squint or needs glasses without asking them any questions, using age-appropriate tests and equipment.
Eye examinations do not hurt. It might be necessary to put drops in your child's eyes so they can be tested to see if they need glasses and that the backs of the eyes are healthy. If this is the case for your child, it will be discussed with you in advance.