Children absorb much of their knowledge through vision making it vitally important that they see well. In those early stages of development it’s important to have a thorough eye examination, especially now general vision screening is no longer done in schools.
Eye examinations for children up to 16 years of age, or 19 if they are in full time education are full funded by the NHS who also make a contribution towards the cost of spectacles should they be required.
Research has shown that many children with learning difficulties simply can’t see properly making it all the more important to have your child’s eyes examined before they embark on their school career and with the stresses and strains of modern learning regular checks are important on an ongoing basis.
Naturally any of our staff are always ready to answer your questions but here are answers to some of the more frequent.
Yes. Our optometrist will be able to ascertain whether or not your child needs spectacles, and what, if any, prescription they should be. This is done with a torch like instrument called a retinoscope. Subjective tests can be done with special charts that contain pictures of everyday objects that are appealing to children.
It’s important to tell your child what to expect when they come in for a test and first things first, it doesn’t hurt at all. Parents are always welcome in the consulting room and most children, and the optometrists, enjoy the visit.
You will be asked about family history of eye problems and your child will be asked about any particular problems they may be having. We will also want to know about your child’s pastimes. Do they enjoy reading or books? Do they enjoy sports? And so on.
Much of the test is carried out with the room lights dimmed and it is worthwhile telling your child this will happen. The optometrist will also use instruments that shine lights into your child’s eyes. This is completely painless and no physical contact is made with the eye.
The whole thing takes less than half an hour at the end of which the optometrist will write down the prescription, if required, and tell you exactly what is going on.
Thankfully gone are the days when spectacles were seen as a stigma. Spectacles are now seen more as a fashion item, especially amongst the young and we have many young patients whose non spectacle wearing siblings also want spectacles!
Once the optometrist has determined that spectacles are actually needed you will be handed over to the dispensing optician who is an expert on advising about lenses, frames etc. and will measure for the spectacles ensuring that they fit well and that the lenses are accurately centered correctly in front of your child’s eyes.
Not necessarily however it is important to ask the optometrist about your particular child. It is really important that your child wears the spectacles for the purposes prescribed.
If you want a little more explanation click here for some easy to understand definitions of what’s what.
Contact lens wear is more a matter of maturity than age. Contact lenses offer the most natural vision and, of course, are almost invisible. They sit directly on the front of the eye and modern lens materials are very comfortable, however every contact lens wearer has to be able to take responsibility for applying the lenses, removing them at the end of the wearing time, keeping the lenses and themselves scrupulously clean. Our staff will be happy to give guidance on your particular child.
Not as such. The NHS will provide a voucher toward the cost of spectacles and most opticians, ourselves included, carry a range of spectacles that can be completely paid for by the voucher.
All lenses supplied to children are plastic which are quite resilient but if you require tougher lenses for active children or a more stylish designer type frame you may decide to top the voucher up.