When you have a young family, you might feel like there’s an endless list of to-dos. From vaccinations to dentist’s appointments and more, it’s no wonder you might be overwhelmed. One of the things you might be wondering, is what age your child should have their first optician’s appointment.

Book an eye test if your child is under three and you’re concerned about their vision

If you have a child under 3 years old, you may be concerned about their vision and decide to find a local optician and book an eye test for them. Even if your child cannot read, there are various tests that can be used on infants and preschool children. You can also bring up any concerns about your child’s vision with your health visitor or paediatrician, who can arrange further workups if required.

If you don’t have any concerns about your child’s vision

If you don’t have any pressing concerns about your child’s vision, you can wait until they are between the ages of 3 and 4 to take them for their first eye test. Even if your child’s vision seems okay, it’s definitely worth taking them for a full eye examination at a qualified optician. This will help ensure any vision issues are addressed before they start school.

If your child has had an eye test but you’re still concerned

Sometimes, you may still be worried about your child’s vision even if they’ve had a recent eye test. We would always advise to book an optician’s appointment again if anything has changed or you are still worried. The first thing to do is to search online for ‘book an opticians appointment near me’ and local opticians should come up. They will then ask you a series of questions to determine if the appointment request is urgent and whether they might need to refer you to the eye hospital.

The kinds of tests that are sometimes carried out on babies

When your baby is born, the red reflex test is usually carried out alongside other newborn checks. It’s where an ophthalmoscope is used to magnify the eyes. When a light is shone into your baby’s eyes, the examiner should see a red reflection. If they see a white reflection, it could indicate a vision problem.

Your baby may also have a pupil reflex test, which is where a light is shone into their eyes to see how the pupils react. In healthy eyes, the pupil should shrink when exposed to the light.

The eye examiner may also check how well your baby responds to visual objects. A doctor will try and get your baby’s attention with an object and see whether they pay attention to it moving.

Eye examinations on older children

When your child is older, many eye tests can be carried out at your local optician. When they can recognise letters, their vision is tested using charts that have rows of letters and numbers. They will also have their range of movement tested, which we also have as adults. It’s where you are asked to move your eyes into various positions, such as left, right, up and down.

An optometrist may also carry out a refraction test, which checks whether your child needs glasses and if so, what prescription they need. Before the test, they might be given special eye drops that widens the pupils to allow for a closer examination.

Colour blindness tests can also be performed, which involves the use of the Ishihara test.

Signs you may need to book an optician’s appointment for your child

Some of the things to look out for include:

  • Headaches, particularly after concentrating for extended periods
  • If your child starts squinting when looking at things
  • If your child suddenly wants to sit close to the TV, or holds a book close to their face
  • Difficulties with coordination or playing sports
  • If your child complains of blurry vision
  • If they have a noticeable drop in school performance.

Book an eye test in Worcester

Children should have an eye test every year to ensure nothing has changed. If you need to book an optician’s appointment for your child, the team here at Dominic Tunnell can help. We have lots of experience with performing children’s eye tests and look forward to welcoming you soon. To book an eye test, please call 01905 613020.

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