We all want the best start for our children in life. It’s important to pick up on any eye problems at an early age, if not your child may have permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes. That is why in the United Kingdom, all children under the age of 16 are entitled to a sight test funded by the NHS.
As children get older, it becomes easier to monitor their eyesight. Some key things to look out for include:
- Rubbing their eyes a lot (not due to tiredness)
- Watery eyes
- Having a turn in one eye (treatment for a lazy eye is most successful when diagnosed and treated before a child is 7 years old)
- Poor hand-to-eye co-ordination and clumsiness
- Avoiding activities such as reading, writing, and drawing
- Complaining of headaches
- Your child requesting to sit closer to the whiteboard at school
Many schools now carry out vision screening on children aged between 4 and 5. If your child’s school does not offer this service, many optometrists will begin to see children for routine check-ups from the age of 4. This sight test will be funded by the NHS and will also cover the cost of a standard pair of glasses if needed. Do not hesitate to book a children’s eye test at your optometrist if:
- You have any concerns about your child’s eyesight or eye health
- There is a history of needing strong prescription glasses from a young age in the family
- There is a history of squint, lazy eye, or any other eye conditions in the family.