Parent time, Tips

Advice for your child’s first trip to the opticians

Good vision in infants and toddlers is extremely important simply because so much of their learning processes are dependent on their eyesight. It is never too early to get started when it comes to looking after your child’s eyes. In fact, you will find that the majority of preschool children and infants have vision screening as a part of their routine developmental checks.

These, whilst invaluable, are not as rigorous as the thorough examinations performed by professional optometrists, so arrange a visit to the opticians for some proper tests as soon as this is appropriate.

Toddlers’ eye test

The general advice is for small children to have their first proper eye test at the optician when they’re about three years old. Uncorrected problems with vision can lead to learning difficulties, so the earlier these problems are detected, the better chance there will be of correcting them.

In the test room

One important fact to bear in mind in connection with taking your little one to see the optician for the first time is that an eye examination poses no danger whatsoever to the child. Also, although opticians’ eye tests are typically associated with being able to distinguish letters on cards at a distance, it’s not necessary for your child to be able to read yet. This is just for adults.

The optician will, first of all, ask you about any eyesight problems, such as glaucoma, in the family history, and whether you have seen your child experiencing any problems whilst playing with toys, games, or looking at small objects.

At Howards Opticians, there will then be a few simple tests performed, which will be child-friendly, and you will be able to hold your child throughout and provide comfort in unfamiliar surroundings. Depending on the age of the child, different techniques will be used by the optician to test the eyes. However, regardless of age, each eye will be tested separately from the other to determine whether they have any problems, and also together to make sure that they’re coordinating visual information properly.

A “retinoscope” is used to shine a light on the eye’s retina so that the optician can measure the ability of the eye to focus. This takes the place of the older child’s and adult’s reading test because, obviously, a three-year-old will be unable to explain whether their vision has improved with various correctional lenses.

After the tests have been completed, you will be able to discuss the results, and any recommendations will be explained to you. If the optician decides that glasses are needed, different lens strengths will be tested and a standard chart with shapes instead of letters will be used for children unsure of their alphabet. Picture books and various other visual aids will also be used when checking for conditions such as color blindness.

Taking your child to the optician for the first time can be a daunting prospect. Just remember that there’s nothing to be afraid of and that you will be there with them throughout.

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