Junior Eyecare From Andrew Keirl Opticians
It is now recognised that a child who has a vision problem may struggle at school and fall behind with essential skills such as reading. All children should therefore have a sight test before they start school.
At Andrew Keirl Opticians in Liskeard we can perform a useful sight test on children from the age of about two years although we have examined children who are only six months old! Children do not have to be able to read letters in order to have an eye examination as Optometrists often use pictures instead of letters to assess a child’s vision. Children under the age of 16 are entitled to an NHS eye examination once every year or earlier if the Optometrist thinks that this is necessary.
Children’s Eye Examinations
An eye examination for a child is similar to that for an adult although most of the history and symptom questions will be directed at the parent. It is important to know if any family members have squints or lazy eyes as eye conditions like these can run in the family. If a child is developing a squint or lazy eye it is important that this is detected and treated as soon as possible.
Questions regarding the child’s birth history will also be asked as prematurity, low birth weight and delivery complications can all increase the risk of the child developing eye problems. A child’s eye examination will usually consist of:
- An assessment of their unaided distance and near vision
- An assessment of the eye muscles
- A check for squint and lazy eye
- An assessment of accommodation, convergence and 3-D vision
- A refraction to see if spectacles are necessary
- A colour vision assessment
- An assessment of the health of the eyes
Sometimes the Optometrist will use special eye drops during the examination. These relax the eyes and increase the accuracy of the tests carried out. If your child is experiencing difficulty in reading, the Optometrist may also suggest an additional assessment using coloured overlays.
Occasionally eye exercises or patching may be recommended. Eye exercises can help the eyes to work together particularly if the patient is having difficulty making the eyes come together when reading. A lazy eye is treated by the occlusion or patching of the good eye. This forces the weaker eye to work and encourages the development of vision. A child with a lazy eye may have problems seeing in 3D.
Many people who suffer from dyslexia, migraine and photosensitive epilepsy are affected by striped patterns, including lines of text, and suffer from visual stress. Those who suffer from visual stress are restless; frequently look away from the page; skip words and lines; lose their place and use a finger as a guide; rub their eyes frequently; blink excessively or flutter their eyelid and show a reluctance to read and write. Research has shown that a coloured filter, specific to each individual, can relieve the symptoms of perceptual distortion, eye-strain and headaches, for dyslexia sufferers. Please contact us for more information if you feel that your child would benefit from an assessment using coloured overlays.
Spectacles for Children
If a child needs spectacles then it is important that these are dispensed by or under the supervision of a qualified Optometrist or Dispensing Optician. At Andrew Keirl Opticians in Liskeard we stock a full range of children’s frames. These include frames that are specially designed for young faces and underdeveloped noses to designer frames for trendy teens.
If a child needs spectacles NHS optical vouchers are available for
Children under the age of 16
Young people under the age of 19 who are in full time education
This means that most children will be able to obtain a ‘free’ pair of spectacles. However, parents may wish to add to the voucher value in order to upgrade their child’s spectacles. Upgrades include
- Unbreakable safety lenses
- Photochromic lenses that change colour in the light
- Designer and fashion frames
- Contact lenses