Why you should book a back-to-school eye test for children

As parents prepare their children for the new school year in September, adding an eye test to that back-to-school checklist is a sensible move to make sure your kids are ready for returning to the classroom.

About 80% of your child’s learning is done visually, and yet one in five school children has an undetected eye problem which can indirectly affect their confidence and learning as well as their vision.

Children are usually unaware if they are having problems with their vision but identifying eye problems early on by regular eye tests means nothing is overlooked and gives them the best chance of safeguarding their eyes for a brighter future.

At what age should children have an eye test?

It’s recommended that all children should have a sight test by the age of four, but you don’t have to wait until your child is at school to get their eyes tested, particularly if you notice any signs to suggest they may be struggling with their vision.  If you as a parent need glasses or contact lenses, it’s especially important to have your children’s eyes tested.

Children don’t have to be able to read or know the alphabet to have an eye test, there are lots of fun ways that an optician can test their eyes.

Eye examinations are free for children under 16 and for young people under 19 in full-time education.

Signs of vision problems for children

Although your child may be unaware that they have vision problems, there are signs that could indicate they are struggling with their sight.

–        Squinting may imply that your child is trying to improve the focus and clarity of things they are looking at.

–        Tilting their head or covering one eye might indicate that the eyes are not working equally or that they have a lazy eye (amblyopia), which is one of the most common eye disorders in children and best treated before the age of eight.

–        Sitting too close to the television, and holding devices or books close to the eyes are all possible signs your child may have short-sightedness (myopia) meaning they have clear vision at close range and poorer vision at a distance.

–        Problems with hand-eye co-ordination when playing ball games can also indicate short-sightedness.

–        Rubbing their eyes or complaining of headaches may mean that your child is overexerting their eyes.

–        Ask their teacher if they are having difficulty concentrating on schoolwork in class.

If your child is showing any of these signs, an eye test will confirm or eliminate any problems they are having with their sight, and if they do need glasses, the sooner their vision is corrected, the better.

Eye tests for children

Taking children for an eye test can feel daunting for them and for you as a parent or guardian. The Optomeyes team is fully trained in eye tests for children, and we try to make them as relaxed and fun as possible by using symbols, colours and matching games instead of a letters chart to test the eyes.

Choosing glasses and lenses for children

If your child does need glasses, they can choose from a great range of frames specifically designed for children.

Under 16s are entitled to an NHS optical voucher to help towards the cost of their glasses or contact lenses ranging in value depending on the strength of the lenses you need.

If your child would prefer contact lenses, we find that around the age of 12 is ideal to start wearing contact lenses although children from as young as eight can wear them. We offer a dedicated appointment to help with using contact lenses for the first time where they will be taught how to use and care for their lenses.

Keep an eye on your eye health

We recommend you have an eye health check every two years to check your eyes. Check in with us anytime for advice about eye care, or if you have any concerns about the health of your children’s eyes.

Get in touch today to book an appointment with one of our experienced optometrists.

Call 02392 550723 for Lee-On-The-Solent or 01329 832706 for Wickham.

Alternatively email lee@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk or wickham@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk and one of the team will call you back to book your appointment.