Research shows that an estimated that 1 million children (or approximately 1 in 5 children) will return to school with an undiagnosed vision problem. Many eye conditions do not present any symptoms and children are not usually aware that their vision is not perfect. Parents and teachers may not notice any problems.
During childhood, the eye is still developing so if any problems such as a squint or a lazy eye are detected early, they can also be treated early which results in a better outcome. 84% of parents agree that improved vision would have a positive impact on their child’s performance at school (Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Survey 2009).
Many parents still assume their child will have their vision checked at school. However, in the UK, this is no longer compulsory meaning your child may not be screened. Sight tests are free for all children under the age of 16. Toddlers and young children can still be examined without being able to read letters on a chart. A free sight test gives every child to have an opportunity to see clearly, learn effectively and develop normally.
At Eye 2 Eye, we are happy to see children as frequently as the child needs or you as parent feel is necessary. Sometimes a child’s vision and responses can fluctuate and can be temporarily stabilised with the aid of drops to ensure a more accurate prescription.
A child’s eye test usually includes:
+ Obtaining a thorough history of the child with the aid of a parent and family medical and ocular history
+ Distance and reading vision check and determination of prescription required to improve vision
+ Examination of muscle balance to check both eyes are coordinating well and no signs of squints or lazy eyes
+ A check for 3D vision and colour vision testing
+ A thorough check into the health of the eye by looking inside the eyes
At Eye 2 Eye we understand children may find the whole visit overwhelming especially if it’s their first time having their eyes checked, which is why we’ve made their experiences as welcoming as possible . All children who are under 16 automatically qualify for an NHS funded eye test, should your child need glasses our optician will issue an NHS optical voucher which will help towards the cost of the glasses.
Are children’s eye tests free?
Those under 16 years of age or between the ages of 16-18 years and are in full time education are entitled to a free sight test every 2 years, unless stated otherwise by the optometrist. If your child does need glasses they will receive a voucher which may cover part or the full cost of the glasses depending on their choice of frame and recommended lenses.
Who else is entitled to a free sight test?
- If you are over 60 years of age
- If you or your partner receive income support
- If you or your partner receive family tax credit
- Do you suffer from diabetes
- Do you suffer from glaucoma
- If your over 40 years of age and have a family history of glaucoma
- If you require a complex (very strong) prescription
- Do you have an NHS exemption form (HC1 or HC2)
- If you’re registered blind or partially sighted (sight impaired or severely sight impaired)
How often should I have my eyes checked?
It is recommended that everyone should have their eyes examined every 2 years. However some people may require more frequent testing, again this can vary from each individual. The optometrist will advise you when your next check would be due.
At what age should a child have their first eye?
Lots of children have excellent sight and may not require glasses or trip to the opticians, however it’s always best to be safe. When children first start school they may have a vision screening done which may indicate if they need to be seen by an optician. But as a parent at home signs you should look out for are:
- Have their eyes recently become very watery
- Do they avoid reading or drawing
- Are they sitting closer to the T.V or computer
- They are complaining about blurred or double vision
- Have to sit closer to the board at school inorder to see and concentrate
On the other hand, if there is a history of a lazy eye or eye squint within the family, or family members having to wear glasses from a young age it may be best to take your child to have a full eye examination at an opticians.
The earlier problems are detected the better it is, if your child does have to wear glasses at a young age don’t worry as it will not make their vision worse.
How often should a child have their eyes checked?
Every individual child is different, there is not right or wrong as to how often your child should get tested it all depends on them. Once your child has their eye’s test for the first time the optician will advise you when they would next need to be seen depending on their results.
Do the NHS contribute towards the cost of the glasses?
If your eye test is covered by the NHS and you require glasses, the NHS will contribute a certain which will vary depending on the nature of the prescription.
Who can wear contact lenses?
Almost everyone can wear contact lenses, many are able to correct their vision by wearing contact lenses. As technology has improved so have contact lenses, they are now easier to insert and remove. The advances in the lens material used today allows many people to correct their vision by wearing contact lenses for longer making it more convenient to complete daily tasks /activities.
If i have an astigmatism can i wear contact lenses?
Of course you can! The optician will fit you with the best suited lenses for your prescription. There are many types of lenses which are available to correct astigmatism, this can vary from soft lenses to bi-focal or multifocals lenses.the optician will carry out your contact lenses fitting will match a contact lense which is best suited to your lifestyle so you can go about your day hassle free! Lenses which correct astigmatism are referred to as toric lenses.
What is Eyedream and is it safe?
Eyedream are lenses which are created using the highest oxygen materials allowing you to have the comfort and safety to wear the contact lenses whilst you sleep. Whilst you are sleeping the lenses are working their magic by gently correcting your cornea. When waking up in the morning you simply remove the lenses and carry on with your day without having to worry about inserting contact lenses or wearing glasses. Yes… Eyedream is definitely safe!