More than 25,000 children (aged 0-16) living in the UK have some sort of vision impairment, according to research from RNIB
Almost all these cases are present at birth or diagnosed within the first year – and can be corrected or managed if caught early.
The best way to detect any problems is by taking your child to regular eye test appointments – but at what age should they start going to them?
In this post, our expert opticians in Formby talk you through when to book your child’s first eye test and why keeping up with regular appointments is so important.
So, why are children’s eye tests so important?
The sooner issues are detected, the quicker your child can get the treatment and support they need.
It can be hard to tell if your child is having trouble with their eyes and vision, especially when they’re younger – so even if there are no noticeable problems, regular eye tests are still important.
Without them, simple problems could become more serious if left untreated.
When do my child’s eyes need to be checked?
Your child’s eyes need to be checked several times throughout their first hours, months and years of life.
- 72 hours old – three days after your baby is born, checks will be carried out to ensure there are no obvious physical problems with their vision as part of the newborn physical examination.
- Between 6 and 8 weeks old – in a follow-up examination, a professional will check for any obvious problems that may have been missed at birth.
- Around 1 year or between 2 and 2 and a half years old – during your child’s regular development reviews, you may be asked if you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight.
- Around 4 or 5 years old – after your child starts school, start taking them to regular opticians appointments to check for signs of reduced vision in one or both eyes, so any problems can be caught early and treated as soon as possible.
What tests will be carried out?
Children’s eye tests aren’t all that different from adult eye exams.
All children’s eye tests will vary slightly, depending on your child’s individual needs, the condition of their eyes and their overall health – but a standard children’s eye test will usually consist of the following:
- A pupil reflex test
This test will be one of the first carried out, and an optician will shine a light into your child’s eye to check how well their pupils respond to light.
- Snellen and LogMAR charts
Remember the letters test from your last eye exam? This test is the exact same, only your child will be shown a series of easily identifiable pictures or symbols – like bunnies, flowers, and houses – if they’re too young to be able to read and understand letters.
- Colour vision deficiency test
This part of the test is used to identify colour blindness, and your child will be asked to say which number or symbol they see on an image made up of different coloured dots.
- Movement and refraction tests
The optician will also look at your child’s eye muscles, and how well they can perform a range of different movements. This will involve showing them an object from eight different angles (up, down, left, right and halfway between each of these points). Refraction tests, on the other hand, are the best way to determine whether or not your child would benefit from wearing glasses. Your child will be asked to look at a light with different lenses on their eyes and asked if any of the lenses help them to see better.
Looking for a new optician in Formby?
Whether you’ve picked up on some problems with your child’s eyes, or you know it’s time they had an eye test, why not book them an appointment with our expert Formby opticians here at Silver & Rose?
Our team is highly-qualified and has years of experience, so you can be confident your child is in the best hands whenever you bring them in for an eye test with us.