Why your child needs an eye test

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  • You wouldn’t hesitate to take your child to the doctor if they were poorly, and dental check-ups are on most parents’ radar. Yet regular eye tests can be overlooked, despite their success in picking up problems early.

    Take your child along for a test at your nearest Specsavers – and it could make all the difference to their education.

    A child’s eyes are their window on the world. They learn so much about their environment and the people around them from what they see. And once they start school, an amazing 80% of what they learn is communicated visually, whether on screens, boards or books.

    How visual problems can impact on your child

    A young child may not be able to let you know that they’re having difficulties with their vision. In fact, they may not even realise there’s a problem at all, simply assuming it’s normal to have a blurred or indistinct view of what they’re seeing.

    But it’s something that can lead to increasing frustration, especially in the classroom. If a child can’t see the board properly, or read a printed page clearly, this can lead to an increasing sense of frustration and lack of concentration. It may even lead to behavioural difficulties such as disruptive behaviour. This may be blamed on other issues, when in fact a child is simply frustrated at not seeing things in the way other children do.

    So it’s extremely important to check their vision, even from a very young age. The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner you can take action to improve things.

    What will a test pick up?

    Your child may need glasses to help them see as clearly as possible. Also eye conditions such as squint or amblyopia (sometimes known as
    ‘lazy eye’) can also be treated much more effectively if they’re
    diagnosed when a child is young.

    Every child under 16 is entitled to a free NHS eye check every two years, so there’s no reason to wait.

    How a children’s eye test is different to yours

    Children’s eye tests are not the same as an adult’s, so it’s possible to test children as young as three. The optometrist uses specially designed charts that feature colours and shapes, so your child’s vision can be checked even if they can’t recognise letters. But this doesn’t mean the test is any less thorough – as well as a complete vision check, the optometrist will also ensure the muscles and eye structures are healthy too.

    What if my child needs glasses?

    At Specsavers, we pride ourselves on developing glasses for children that not only look good, but are adapted to fit a child’s head more effectively, as well as allowing for growth. For example, the bridge is narrower for smaller noses, and a deeper lens shape allows for the fact that children look up a lot!

    Can schools help too?

    Screening For Schools is a three-minute test developed by scientists at City University, London. Schools can use it to assess very quickly whether a child would benefit from a full eye test. The technology can be used by teachers, teaching assistants or simply by volunteers. If your child’s school hasn’t signed up yet, ask them to do so at screeningforschools.co.uk.

    What should I do next?

    Specsavers are encouraging all parents to get their children’s eyes tested. Make your appointment today – and get the reassurance that your child is seeing as well as they possibly can.