Back To School – Looking After Children’s Eyes

Good eyesight is crucial in making sure a child develops to their full potential both at school and socially. So as we are in back-to-school season, get you child / children booked in for an eye test with us.

It’s especially important to look after children’s eyes – the eye is still developing throughout early childhood so if problems are treated early, it can make a lasting difference. It’s never too early to have a eye test, visiting an optometrist will mean you can spot and manage vision problems that may affect your child’s development.

How Do I Know If My Child Has An Eye Problem?

Some eye conditions do not display any signs or symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to take your child for an eye test. Signs which may show there is a problem with a child’s sight include: 

  • An eye appearing to drift inwards or outwards
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Behavioural problems
  • Headaches
  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Frequent eye rubbing

Symptoms Of Vision Problems

This could mean your child needs glasses or that they have an eye that is healthy but does not see as well, otherwise known as a ‘lazy eye’. The condition can run in the family, so if a relative has either an eye turn (squint) or suffers from reduced vision in one or both eyes (amblyopia), it’s a good idea to take any related children for an eye test.

We are experts in Myopia Management which is the way to slow the progression of a child’s short sightedness, using specialist contact lenses or glasses. The progression of Myopia can now be significantly reduced if it is caught and managed early. Contact Us to book an assessment.

What Is Vision Screening?

Some children have their vision screened at school – this is usually a basic test, designed to pick up children who have reduced vision in one or both eyes. If a problem is suspected, children will usually be referred to an optometrist for a full eye test.

Parents may assume that their child has been screened at school but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Even where this does happen, it is not usually until the age of four or five, so we recommend that all children visit us for a sight test around the age of three.

What Is An Eye Test?

An eye test is a comprehensive check which can pick up many other conditions, including colour vision defects, problems with the development of 3D vision and any need for glasses.

When Should My Child Visit The Optometrist?

Although the UK National Screening Committee recommends screening at age four to five years, we will see children much younger than this for an eye test.

We recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three, so that conditions can be picked up and treated early. After the first test it is a good idea to return every two years, or as recommended by us.

Paying For A Sight Test

Children under the age of 16 are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests (covering the cost of a sight test), plus an optical voucher, which entitles you help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses if required.

Contact lenses are suited to all ages and even young children are able to wear, handle and look after their lenses.

What Can I Do If I Don’t Want My Child To Wear Glasses?

If you’re reluctant for your child to wear glasses, it’s important to remember that some children need a visual correction in order for their vision to develop normally and to achieve their full potential.

The good news is, there is now a much wider range of attractive frames to choose from and less stigma attached to wearing glasses. Some children may even be disappointed when told they don’t need to wear glasses!

Many children are also suitable for contact lenses; this is particularly helpful for children who take part in regular sports activities and can be successfully worn from an earlier age than you might expect. Ask us whether contact lenses would be suitable for your child.

Should your child need glasses, we have an extensive range of child specific frames. We stock child-friendly favourites such as Lacoste, Tomato, Wolf and Centro Style.

What Else Can I Do To Look After My Child’s Eyes?

  • Get them outdoors – regular play and exercise can help with eye health.
  • Make sure they eat healthily and drink enough fluids.
  • Protect their eyes from the sun – never let them look directly into the sun and make sure they always wear good-quality sunglasses with the ‘CE’ quality mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:2005

If you are worried about any aspect of your child’s eye health, get in touch and we will be happy to advise you on what to do. We are committed to offering the very best care for your child’s eyes. Book an eye test for your child today.

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