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Children's eye health.

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Children can be tested at any age. It is recommended that an optometrist sees them before they start school and start learning to read. Often, vision problems can be the reason a child does not perform well at school, for example because they cannot see the board. The earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment. Children's eyes are fully developed by the time they are 8 years old so it is very important to have any eye problems detected before this.

  • Only 60% of schools now provide eye tests.
  • Poor sight can be misattributed to special needs.
  • 1 in 5 children have an undetected eye problem, which can be easily found by an Optometrist during an eye test.

However, when they are checked at school, it is not a full eye test. Their distance vision is normally checked but this will not detect all levels of long-sight. Short sight and large squints may be detected, but the school checks are not usually carried out by an eye care professional. For a full eye test you should take your child to a registered Optometrist. If left undetected for too long, some sight defects cannot be corrected.

Your child's first eye check is usually a post-natal check at 1 year. They should then be re-tested before they start school by an Optometrist. This will pick up any problems that may lead to problems that may lead to poor development at school. At primary school, your child's eyesight should be assessed by the local health board. However, only 60% of schools now provide eye tests so it is important you register your child with an Optometrist.

Some of the most common symptoms that could indicate your child may be experiencing problems with their sight are:

  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Looking cross eyed
  • Holding a book too close to their face when reading

If detected early enough we can ensure children's eye problems have a minimum impact on their lives.

At Vision Express our children's eye test covers 7 keys steps:

  • Personal and family history recorded by Optometrist
  • A thorough, personalised eye test adapted to your child's age and capabilities
  • Your child's vision compared to expected levels of development and growth
  • Relevant health checks carried out by looking inside the eyes
  • Particular attention given to investigating squints and 'lazy eyes'
  • Eye muscle balance checked to ensure correct coordination
  • Additional tests if required including colour vision and 3D vision

Children's glasses take a lot of 'wear and tear'. Following the simple steps below can help prolong the life of their glasses;

  • Glasses should always be taken off with both hands to stop them bending out of shape
  • Never put glasses 'lens down' on surfaces, as they may scratch
  • Always keep glasses in a case when they are not being worn
  • Clean glasses daily for clearer vision

Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer which generally affects children under 5 years old. Symptoms include a white reflection or absence of 'red eye' in flash photographs. It is treatable but if signs are noticed they must be checked out as soon as possible. For more details visit our Retinoblastoma page or CHECT.org.uk