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.
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