Children's Eyecare - Eyes and Vision

Eyes and Vision
Eyes and Vision

Who is there to help, how do I get it, when do I do it, how much does it cost.

  • Health visitors, GP, Paediatrician, Optician all on hand to help you.
  • Your child's eye care is down to you. Don't rely on school vision screening, or for someone else to notice a problem - take your child for eye tests.
  • FAMILY HISTORY IS IMPORTANT - LOTS OF EYE CONDITIONS ARE INHERITED
  • EVEN IF THERE IS NO PROBLEM, take your child to an optician at 3YRS, 8YRS AND 11 YEARS old. There is no cost involved, it is paid for by the NHS.
  • All Optometrists are qualified to test children. Try to find one that is 'child friendly' though. Have a look at their glasses - is there a large Children's selection? Ask the staff, or better still ask your friends for a recommendation.
  • To get yourself registered, just walk in and book an eye examination.
  • Be nice to them, the payment from the NHS is low and not very profitable!
  • An Opticians eye test is more comprehensive than tests performed by the School nurse, health visitor, as Opticians have the facilities to spot things that can be missed by screening.
  • At the eye test, the Optician examines the health of the eyes and checks to see if glasses are required. Early use of glasses can prevent further problems in adult life. An Optician will not prescribe glasses without good reason.
  • Modern Children's glasses are very stylish with a large range available, and being subsidized by the NHS are very affordable, with many supplied completely free. Children's glasses must only be fitted by a qualified Dispensing Optician.

What should I look out for?

Health:

  • Watering, Sticky eyes are common. Keep clean and avoid cross contamination. If severe contact your GP. Watch out for infection. Wet eyes may indicate blocked ducts, treated by massage but be advised by GP.
  • If eyes are red after playing in the garden - this may be a common allergic reaction. No treatment is required. Conjunctivitis - highly contagious, clears up after 4 to 5 days.
  • Blepharitis - a common eyelid condition requires extra hygiene procedure involving baby shampoo.

Vision: IF THERE IS A PROBLEM -

  • Older babies may not seem to use their hands, or may lean back.
  • If older children seem to sit too close to the television, get headaches or lose interest in things at a distance - check it out.
  • If you see signs of a squint, have it checked out. An Optician will be able to help.

Eye development:

  • Baby's eyes are generally blue. Their final eye colour is developed at 9 to 12 months.
  • Brown eyes dominant. Different colours are unusual, but do not panic
  • Babies should be able to follow a slow moving object at about 3 months
  • Babies colour vision is poor until about 3 months. More interested in contrast and shadow.
  • Colour vision is routinely checked at an eye examination.
  • If a child is colour defective (8% boys and 0.5% girls are) there is no evidence to suggest that they perform less well at school, but it may affect their career choice.
  • There is no real treatment for this; however colour filters can sometimes help.

SUNGLASSES

  • Sunglasses are more important for children than adults. Older eyes can filter out more harmful UV. 80% of UV Damage occurs before age of 20. Children receive approx 3 times the annual dose of UV than the average adult. Sunglasses or Photochromic lenses do NOT cause photophobia or aversion to sunlight, and do not make eyes more sensitive. ONLY buy good quality ones from reputable outlets. EN1836/1997

PARENTS

  • If you rely on glasses or contact lenses, make sure you have spares!