Children's Eye Care

At Hendon Eyecare Opticians we have seen children as young as 1 eye tests. Our staff love to work with children and parents are often surprised to hear that kid’s eye tests are FREE. All children Under 16 and those Under 18 & in Full-Time Education are entitled to an eye test paid for by the NHS.

When should your child have their first eye test?

We recommend that a child should have their first eye test at the age of 3, but if you have any concerns or questions you can book an eye test sooner. Some of the things to look out for are below on this page.

Why should your child have an eye test?

Common Vision Problems for Children

Common vision problems for children can include;

  • Squint
  • Astigmatism
  • Short-sightedness
  • Amblyopia or lazy eye
  • Long Sightedness

 

 

There is considerable research that supports the need for regular testing. Recent UK studies have found that one in five school-age children have some form of undetected vision problems. The US dept of health and human services found that visual impairment affects up to 10% of pre-school children, of which a third have amblyopia (lazy eye) and two thirds have uncorrected refractive errors. In older children the incidence of myopia (short-sight) has rapidly increased throughout the world. A recent Swedish study found that 50% of 12 year olds are myopic, expected to rise to 70% by age 18, with over 80% in parts of SE Asia.

Regular eye examinations are essential to ensure normal visual development. Significant refractive errors or squints left uncorrected during critical periods (up to age 8-10) will result in permanently impaired vision.

 Vision Problems in Children

There is considerable research that supports the need for regular testing. Recent UK studies have found that one in five school-age children have some form of undetected vision problems. The US dept of health and human services found that visual impairment affects up to 10% of pre-school children, of which a third have amblyopia (lazy eye) and two thirds have uncorrected refractive errors. In older children the incidence of myopia (short-sight) has rapidly increased throughout the world. A recent Swedish study found that 50% of 12 year olds are myopic, expected to rise to 70% by age 18, with over 80% in parts of SE Asia.

Vision Screening

There is no national framework for vision screening. Pre-school checks are negligible and after school entry there is great variability from one school to the next. School screening usually takes form by asking a child to read down a chart of letters or shapes. Children have great abilities to compensate and often within this screening, a visual problem can remain undetected. The main issue lies in detecting refractive errors. Undetected, these can cause a number of problems ranging from chronic headaches to under achievement academically. Imagine if you couldn’t see what’s on the board in class, how long would it take for you to lose concentration and become distracted.

Vision & Reading Difficulties

Reading difficulties, affecting up to 10% of school children, can be part of a wider spectrum of problems and may be associated with conditions affecting how the eyes work together and focus at near. Often spectacles or simple exercises can be used to overcome these muscle weaknesses to stop symptoms including print moving or jumbling.

The easiest way to ensure regular eye tests is to include it as part of your back to school routine. Make an occasion of it by having your eyes tested as well.

Things To Look Out For

  • difficulty concentrating
  • headaches
  • sitting too close to the TV
  • rubbing their eyes a lot
  • ‘disruptive’ behaviour
  • children with a family history of eye problems are more likely to develop squints and lazy eyes

All Children Under 19 and in full-time education receive a free eye test and help towards the cost of their glasses paid for by the the NHS.

For more information give us a call on 020 8202 7914 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This