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What happens at a child’s eye test?

Keeping on top of your child’s eye health from an early age is so important.

As well as allowing any issues to be addressed early on, taking your child to the opticians from a young age can help make the experience part of the norm, ensuring they get into good habits.

The best time to start coming for regular eye checks is around the age of two. However, if there is a family history of vision problems then it would pay to book in even earlier.

Patrick & Menzies’ Dan Edwards explained: “At the very least we recommend children have their eyes checked out before they start school. We want to make sure any issues are addressed as early as possible, even if it takes some time to resolve them.

“If visual problems aren’t picked up, not only may that child have difficulty seeing clearly and struggle to keep up with their learning as a result, but it can also sometimes lead to other issues in the classroom such as poor attention span and disruptive behaviour.

“Sometimes when children are struggling with their sight, they will respond by going into themselves, while others may express this through bad behaviour.”
If you are looking to have your child’s eyes tested for the first time, just give us a call and book an appointment. Try to talk to your child in advance about why you will be coming for the appointment and what will happen, so they can arrive calm and confident about what to expect.

Explain that they will need to sit in a big chair, and the lighting may be dimmed for some of the tests.

As well as assessing the general health of the child’s eyes, the optometrist will check their vision in a number of different ways to understand how well they can see. It’s not difficult or scary – they just need to give easy, straightforward answers to the questions the optometrist asks, and at the end they might even get a sticker for coming along!

Don’t worry if your child isn’t talking much yet or is unable to recognise the alphabet, as there are other methods that can be used to assess the health of their eyes.

Dan explained: “The optometrist will be able to get lots of information from the parent or carer about what the child will and will not understand. For those children who can’t yet read letters, pictures of familiar objects can be used instead. These are specifically designed to replicate the same results as if they were reading the letters chart.

“If the child is very young, we will use retinoscopy techniques where we shine a light in the eye and assess how it reflects off the retina. We can see how it moves and judge if it the child is normal sighted, short sighted or long sighted.

“It’s normal for young children to be slightly long sighted, this resolves as the child grows. The optometrist will be able to judge if their vision is as expected for their age.”

As part of the examination the optometrist will be checking for stereo vision – or in other words if the eyes are working together as they should – by showing them a series of pictures, which should look 3D.

If the child is able to recognise numbers, they will also be tested for colour deficiency. They will be asked to look at an image made up of different coloured dots and say if they can see a number hidden within it.

Usually, children should have an eye examination once a year, unless any issues are spotted and then it will be more frequently.

Should you discover your child needs glasses, we have a great range to choose from at Patrick & Menzies. Take a look at all of our children’s glasses currently in stock.

Call us to book an appointment or book online

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Making sure your vision is the best it can be

If you are due an eye test, need to replace your glasses or are thinking of switching to contact lenses then look no further – Patrick & Menzies is here to help!

As a proudly independent opticians we have been looking after people’s eyes for more than 30 years and have always done things a little bit differently to the competition.

With branches in Braintree, Brightlingsea and Mersea, we have the added benefit of being based in market town and seaside locations which mean that it’s much easier to find a parking space nearby than in the centre of a bigger town and you may even get to enjoy the local area after your appointment.

There are lots of other reasons to support our local, independent business. Here are just a few.


Your vision matters to us. That’s why we give longer for our eye examinations than many opticians, allowing our optometrists the time they need to assess all aspects of your vision and eye health.

Our aim is for all of our patients to leave feeling listened to, fully informed and reassured that their eyes are taken care of, whether it’s a routine check-up or an appointment about a specific concern or symptom that’s bothering them. We’ll never rush you or dismiss your worries.

Once we have examined every aspect of your vision and eye health, we will take the time to clearly explain any changes that have occurred and explore what we can do to help.


When you book an appointment at Patrick & Menzies you can be confident in the skills and expertise of all of our staff.

Every member of the team, from our optical assistants and dispensers to our optometrists, is continually developing their knowledge and expertise to ensure the information we provide to you is bang up to date.

The technology we use to assess your eyes is also regularly updated.


When picking your glasses frames our team is on hand to help you select the perfect pair. We can offer advice on which frames will best meet your needs, taking into account fit, comfort, and suitability for your lenses.


The fit of your glasses plays an important part in how well they work for you, so it is always best to go to a dispensing optician when buying new frames.

That’s why as well as taking accurate measurements, we also take the time to understand what you need from your glasses to make sure you get the very best from them.

When your frames are ready for collection, pop in and we can do any final adjustments to make sure they fit just right.

Our patients tell us this is particularly useful when there has been a significant change to their prescription or they’re trying out a new type of lens for the first time.

And if your glasses should become uncomfortable or slip, we will be happy to adjust or refit them.

After care

If the worst does happen and your glasses break, don’t worry – we can more than likely fix them.

Just pop into one of our branches and in most cases, we will be able to repair them while you wait.

If you bought your glasses from us, we won’t charge for small fixes like new screws or nose-pads. If it’s something more serious then we can send them to our repairers.

If you are concerned about your eyesight, or are due a regular check-up please do give us a call to book an appointment.


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