Your child’s eye sight is extremely important
The critical period for first having your eyes tested is before the age of 8 to prevent long-term damage. If you have any concerns about your child’s eyes or vision we can see them at any age (the youngest patient we have seen was 11 months old) and we would advise all children have a full sight test when they start school. Children’s sight tests are vital as it is estimated that approximately 1 million children in the UK currently have an undetected vision problem. This may be because children do not always report symptoms; if the world has always been blurry how do they know that’s not normal?
Don’t worry if your child does not know how to read yet, or has learning difficulties, we are trained to examine their eyes and create a relaxing and fun environment.
What does a child’s sight test involve?
The average child’s sight test at Robert Linsky Optometrists lasts for 30 minutes, but we will always give you more time if required. During the test, our expert optometrists will carry out a range of examinations to test your child’s vision and monitor their eye health.
Accurately assess your child’s vision
In order to accurately gauge their prescription, we use a special instrument called a retinoscope to tell where light rays focus at the back of the eye (to indicate long- and short-sightedness as well as astigmatism). While there are other ways to gauge a prescription, such as through the use of auto refractor machines; these are less accurate, particularly in children. If needed, we can also perform a cycloplegic examination with dilating drops.
Check your child’s colour vision and routinely do this at their first visit or later if any concerns arise
Colour vision testing can be done at any age regardless of literacy or numeracy skills. Approximately 1 in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls have a colour vision deficiency – this does not necessarily mean they cannot name colours but that their perception is different. It helps to know this going through school, and can have an impact on certain careers (such as pilots, fire-fighters and engineers).
Check that your child’s eyes work together with a cover test and motility gaze-tracking, as well as 3D-vision testing
About 3% of all children have a ‘lazy eye’, clinically known as ‘amblyopia’. This may be due to an uncorrected prescription in one or both eyes; or they may have a turn in the eye (‘strabismus’ or ‘squint’).
Examine your child’s retina
This is usually done with an ophthalmoscope and entertaining slides so that your child does not get bored. Examination of the retina is extremely important – it can help detect diseases that might otherwise go undiscovered, and could even save your child’s life.