As a family-friendly opticians practice, we’re committed to providing children with the highest level of eyecare possible. Our goal is to ensure that every child’s vision is the best it can possibly be to help them develop and reach their full potential.
The importance of eye tests for children
We can’t stress the importance of regular eye exams for children enough. Research suggests that one in five school children has an undetected eye problem. This is partly because children tend to assume that what they are seeing is ‘normal’ and may not realise that they have a vision problem. Good vision is essential to a child’s development and learning – in fact, 80% of a child’s learning is visual.
While eye screenings at school are useful for determining any vision changes in a child’s eyes, they do not cover a comprehensive check of their eye health and prescription in the same way as an eye exam does.
For children under the age of 16, regular eye exams are recommended at least once a year. NHS eye exams are free for children aged 16 and under, and for those aged 18 and under who are in full time education.
Regular eye exams ensure that any vision changes or eye conditions are detected as early as possible so that we can act quickly to provide or recommend suitable treatment to rectify or manage them, so your child can enjoy life to the fullest.
Undetected eye problems can not only impair a child’s development, but can also interfere with academic learning, potentially leading to behavioural or attention issues, and even vision loss.
We recommend bringing your child in for their first eye exam at the age of 4. However, if you have any reason to believe your child is struggling with their vision, we urge you to bring them in as soon as possible, whatever their age. Remember that the earlier a problem is detected, the more effectively it can be treated.
Common signs of children’s eye problems
As we mentioned earlier, children often don’t realise that they are experiencing vision problems and may not be able to express that something is wrong. Therefore, it’s important for parents, teachers, and caregivers to watch out for the following signs:
- Complaints of headaches or discomfort
- Frequently rubbing their eyes or blinking a lot
- Holding reading material close to their face
- Actively avoiding reading, writing, or drawing
- Covering one eye or noticing one eye turning in, out, up, or down
- Learning difficulties
- Concentration or behavioural problems at school
- Trouble catching a ball
- Squinting when reading or watching television
Your child’s eye exam
We understand that eye exams, especially the first one, can be daunting for children. Our experienced optometrist is here to help your child feel as comfortable and confident as possible. We’ll take the necessary steps to adapt our children’s eye exam according to their age and capabilities. For example, if your child is too young to talk or read, we have a range of tests and equipment to help detect vision problems, including using pictures instead of word charts.
Frames and contact lenses for children
We offer a range of stylish children’s frames that ensure comfort and durability for their active lifestyles. We offer a range of completely free NHS glasses, and if you select a pair outside of this range part of the cost of prescription glasses can still be covered by the NHS with a voucher. We can also fit children with contact lenses from as early on as the age of 10 as an alternative to wearing glasses.
As a leading opticians practice in the Queen’s Park and Kensal Rise area, we are proud to also be able to provide a revolutionary myopia management program for short sighted children to protect and preserve your child’s future vision.
Get in touch with our friendly team to book your child’s eye exam in today.