Caring for young eyes
It’s vital to get your children’s eyes checked. Small children simply don’t know if they have a problem.
Children’s eyecare is something that we are passionate about at Aves Optometrists. Polly Dulley led the UK Association of Optometrists’ campaign for Children’s Eyecare for many years and also worked for the College of Optometrists in formulating a Higher Qualification in Paediatrics for the profession. She has taught on the paediatric optometry programme at City University in London for the past 3 years.
At Aves, we offer eye examinations to children of all ages, fully funded by the NHS. Here are some commonly asked questions about children’s eyecare.
Why is it important for children to have their eyes checked?
It is estimated that one in five children have an undiagnosed eye problem, and this could range from not being able to see the board at school to an undiagnosed cataract. It is easy to assume that if a child doesn’t complain about visual problems, then their vision must be fine, but this is certainly not the case. Most children who have undiagnosed visual problems, simply assume that everyone sees the way they do.
Only 53% of children in the UK have ever had any kind of eye test and this accounts for all those undetected visual problems that children have to cope with. School work will certainly be affected, and this will affect the child’s development in many ways.
Don’t school nurses check their vision at school?
Many parents assume that school nurses check children’s eyes and, in the Epping area, there is still provision for school nurses to do a vision check in reception class. A vision check alone, however, will fail to pick up many eye problems that a full eye examination by a qualified optometrist would
Will I have to pay for my child’s eye examination?
Eye examinations are funded by the NHS for ALL children in full time education until their 19th birthday.
How can you do an eye examination if my child doesn’t yet recognise letters?
Vision can be assessed in many different ways. We can assess vision in children under a year old by using objective, preferential looking techniques. We can use picture matching charts in toddlers who are able to name or point to pictures shown on a chart.
How early should I bring in my child for an eye examination?
There is no lower limit to how soon we can examine your child’s eyes. Even in babies, we are able to check that the eyes are healthy, measure the prescription and check that the eyes are working together. If you have any concerns, bring your child in to see us. If you have no worries, a check before the age of three is suggested. A condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye is best treated before the age of three, and your child would not necessarily show any signs or symptoms.
Colorimetry and eye tracking
Aves has been involved in this area of optometry which investigates the use of coloured filters to aid reading and associated near vision tasks for many years. Some people who struggle with their reading and/or writing may suffer from visual stress and it is these individuals who may benefit from the use of colour.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty, associated particularly with reading and spelling. Many people with dyslexia suffer from visual stress. Visual stress is NOT the same as dyslexia but is more common in those who are dyslexic. Visual stress can also occur in people who are not dyslexic.
Click here to learn more about our Colorimetry service.