Children’s Eye Care

Eye health issues for children can include:

  • Refractive error such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism.
  • Conjunctivitis can affect children. There are many causes: bacterial or viral infection, allergy or underlying systemic illness.
  • Lazy eye (amblyopia) occurs when the visual development in one eye is not normal and the brain starts to ignore the images from this eye, causing vision to deteriorate. This condition should be managed by our trained paediatric optometrists, and often requires ongoing treatment over months to years with the aim of improving the child’s vision.
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus) is also known as being cross-eyed or having turned eyes. A thorough examination is required to exclude serious disease, prevent the development of lazy eye and correct the crossed eyes.
  • Congenital droopy eyelid (ptosis) affects the upper eyelid and occurs when the muscles responsible for raising the eyelid are weak or the nerves that control those muscles are damaged.
  • Childhood cataracts are present when a baby is born but often not discovered until the first few years of life. Early diagnosis is critical to determine if the child’s vision is at risk and the best course of management.
  • Congenital glaucoma is present at birth and can often be very difficult to diagnose as signs and symptoms can be very subtle. If in doubt, an examination should be carried out. Any child with a family history of congenital glaucoma should be checked.
  • Eye injuries and foreign bodies occur commonly in children. Even minor trauma (e.g. a corneal abrasion or scratch on the eyelid) can result in significant vision problems, so a prompt eye examination is recommended.

Comprehensive Eye Examination

Your child should have a comprehensive eye examination with our paediatric qualified optometrists from around 3 years of age, unless an eye problem is noticed prior to this. Early detection of any eye problem will ensure prompt treatment and help to minimise any vision loss or visual dysfunction.

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Tests that may be performed include:

  • Visual acuity test to determine how well a child can see. Adults are accustomed to identifying a variety of letters on an eye chart (this is the Snellen eye chart). A different chart, often with pictures, symbols, letters and numbers can be used for testing children.
  • Eye muscle test or ocular motility test to check the function of the muscles responsible for moving the eye. Your child will be asked to look at a pen or another object without moving their head, while the optometrist moves it in various directions.
  • Cover testing and prism measurements help determine the presence of misalignment between the eyes. If a turned eye is present, this will be measured using a non-invasive prism bar test.
  • Refraction test to see whether or not your child needs corrective lenses. It also helps determine the lens prescription if glasses are required.

Some tests may need your child’s pupils to be dilated with eye drops. This will be discussed with you if needed.

  • Retinal examination allows your optometrist to evaluate the back of your child’s eye, including the retina, the optic nerve and macula.
  • Fluorescein eye stain to accurately diagnose a corneal abrasion or ulcer. This test uses fluorescent orange dye and a blue light to detect damage to the cornea.
  • Additional tests that may be required as part of the examination (reserved for children aged 6 years and above) include visual fields testing and OCT and retinal imaging

If you have any eye concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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