Children’s Eyecare

Two key little known facts

1. Children assume the way they see the world is normal, so they do not know that their vision is not clear: That’s why booking their first eye examination after their first six months is a good idea and no later than three or four years old.

2. Remember too that children might be able to see things but still have an eye condition. And whilst this isn’t well known, it is vital to detect some conditions such as strabismus early, as late detection can mean sight lost that cannot be recovered.

Your child’s first examination may be broken down into several fun visits where games and fun challenges are offered. Don’t worry if your child is too young to talk or read a letter chart, our computerised test chart allows us to use pictures, numbers, shapes and letters to check your child’s vision. We use a series of games and activities that allow your child to feel at home and not under any pressure.

Typical warning signs to look out for before their first examination, or during those important developing years:

  • One eye turns in, out, up or down
  • Complaining of frequent headaches
  • Frequently rubbing his or her eyes, or blinking a lot
  • Screwing up his or her eyes when reading or watching television
  • Avoiding reading, writing or drawing
  • Having difficulty catching a ball, or over reaching for items
  • Not making the expected progress at school
  • Developing behavioural or concentration problems at school

McShaw Optometrists provides free NHS eye tests for all children under 16 and to those under 19 and in full time education. If a child is found to need spectacles, the NHS provides a contribution.

The NHS provides a basic sight test which can pick up a number or issues however, we will refer your child to the hospital eye service should we find something that we are not able, under NHS provision, to investigate further or correct within our practice. You can also choose to pay for additional tests not covered by the NHS within our practice, depending on their needs – this may include colourimetry. Please ask for further details. (Press here for information).

We recommend at 16 years having an advanced or gold eye care package as a one- off. This provides a range of in-depth baseline Scans and examinations that can be used to determine unique normal structures should a condition or accident happen later. This will help the specialists to determine potential treatments and wow! it’s a fascinating tour of their eyes.

At McShaw Optometrists we stock a wide range of spectacles to choose from which are specially designed for children’s faces. Many have soft nose pads for extra comfort and sprung hinges to withstand extra wear and tear. We also have a range of sports goggles and can order a range of products to get those fittings right.

Helpful hints

  • Good screen time management may help to lower the risk of myopia and digital eye-strain. Studies suggest that near-work activities, including screen time, may be connected with both near-sightedness and digital eye-strain. You can help by encouraging your child to look from the screen 20 yards away for 20 seconds after 20 minutes of study. I guess that’s why they call it the 20:20:20 rule. It’s a rule we could all adopt.
  • Blue light from digital devices is not dangerous – it has been around us before the advent of computers. Some proponents suggest that it is linked to cataract development and macular disease. There is not yet a body of research that can substantiate these claims, however one study led by Gianluca Tosini, professor and chief scientific research officer at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine, says small amounts of high-frequency blue light will not dramatically increase the risk of eye disease but long-term exposure can be harmful. Consider using a blue filter on your screen, you can even down load blue filters for your phone for free.
  • Eye injuries are the most common cause of loosing vision in childhood. Glasses and sunglasses aren’t sufficient to protect during sports activities, in fact they can shatter on impact. Wear sports eye protectors or goggles for sports such as racquetball, hockey or polycarbonate lenses for football, lacrosse etc.
  • Don’t skip those regular two yearly checks at the optometrists.
  • Just as you would protect their skin, protect your child’s eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and peaked hats. Ensure the sunglasses carry the CE quality mark and British Standard BS EN 1836:2005.
  • Eating healthy, drinking enough and exercise especially outdoors are all good features of good eye care too. After all, the eyes continue to develop during childhood and need all the nutrients and benefits from exercise, just like the rest of the body.