What to Expect in Children’s Eye Tests and Why They’re Important

Your child deserves the very best, especially when it comes to maintaining optimal eye health. As children grow and develop, their vision helps them learn more about you, the world around them and how to navigate it.

Being able to see clearly is incredibly important in your child’s overall development, which is why getting routine eye exams in place is crucial. But what do children’s eye tests involve and how soon does your child need one? Read on to find out.

Children’s eye test

Your child’s first infant eye examination

Most children have their eyesight assessed when they’re very young as part of routine developmental checks. Whilst these checks are important, they aren’t as thorough as a complete eye exam carried out by a qualified optometrist.

New-born babies usually have their eyes checked at the hospital shortly after birth. During this routine check, paediatricians will check for infections or structural problems with the eyes. If your child has poor eyesight, they may suffer with behavioural problems as quite often, children find it challenging to explain difficulties they’re having with their eyesight, or conversely, they may not know be aware at all.

Infant eye examinations are nothing for you or your child to be nervous about – they’re there to ensure your child’s vision is healthy and any conditions are detected earlier rather than later.

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What age should my child have their first eye exam?

Infant eye exams are incredibly important. They can help detect conditions such as squint and amblyopia (lazy eye), even if you or your child aren’t aware that these conditions are present. The sooner these conditions are picked up, the more fulfilling your child’s life will be as they grow and develop.

Luckily, there are tests in place for infants and preschool children who cannot read or recognise letters. If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight, a local optician will be able to test their vision for you.

If there are no immediate concerns with your child’s eyes, we recommend testing before your child goes into full-time education around the age of three or four-years old. This will ensure any problems they have are detected earlier rather than later and will ensure their school years are memorable and rewarding. Find a store near you.

Are children’s eye tests free?

In the UK, the NHS will cover the full cost of an eye examination for all children under the age of 16, as well as those under 19 who are in full-time education. If you have any questions about this, your optometrist will be able to advise.

What happens in an infant eye examination?

So, you want to know what happens in an infant eye examination. Firstly, it’s nothing for you or your child to be worried about. Everyone can suffer with nerves upon their first opticians visit, not just children. The good news is, it’s our job to ensure that both you and your child feel comfortable during the whole process.

Infant eye exams are a little different to the usual tests carried out on adults. We use specialist charts designed for children that allow them to recognise shapes, pictures or even match letters. So, even if your child is unable to read, we can still test their eyes to a high standard.

Sometimes, our optometrists may want to use eye drops as part of your child’s eye examination. These drops are designed to relax the muscles inside of your child’s eyes so we can get a clearer picture of their eye health. The drops may cause some slight discomfort and blurring, but this will wear off within a few seconds. Your optometrist will discuss this option with you if needed during the examination.

Signs your child might need an infant eye exam

Spotting the key tell-tale signs that your child has sight problems can be tricky. This is why regular paediatric eye check-ups are important.

Here are some things to look out for:

– Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
– Falling behind in school
– Straining their eyes
– Rubbing their eyes frequently
– Sitting too close to the TV or holding a book close to their face
– Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
– A ‘turn’ in the eye or a misdirection of the eyes
– Not wanting to participate in activities which require good vision such as reading or homework

For any immediate concerns, you can book your child in for an infant eye exam with us here.

Here at D.I Blow Opticians, we supply a range of high-quality children’s glasses to suit every level of vision and suit any budget.

Remember, paediatric eye check-ups are nothing for you or your child to be afraid of. They’re there to help you and keep your child’s vision healthier for longer.

For more information or any questions that you might, you can visit us in store where our team will be available to help.