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Child eyecare: Optometrist visits essential from age 3

08 October, 2013

Magic number three

Up to 80% of everything we learn during the first eight years of our life is taken in through our eyes. With vision so clearly linked with early development, eyecare should be considered important from a young age.

Every child will have vision screenings as part of their routine developmental checks. However, although these are invaluable, they are not as thorough as an eye test by an optometrist.

Specsavers recommends that children have their first eye test at around three-years-old. If problems are discovered, they can then be treated quickly and efficiently to avoid any potential learning difficulties.

An independent Mumsnet survey commissioned by Specsavers this summer revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of parents with a child aged three to 12 were yet to have had their child’s vision tested.

Of those who admitted they hadn’t, more than half (51%) reported it was because their child didn’t seem to have a problem.

Paul Carroll, director of professional services at Specsavers, says: ‘Parents who assess their child’s eyecare themselves are creating unnecessary problems later in life. A child’s eyesight will continue to develop right up to the age of eight years old, which means that eyecare issues can be corrected by the optician.

‘If their child has behavioural issues at home or school then this could be due to problems with their eyesight, so it is definitely worth taking them to be tested.’ If your child does need glasses, there are many different frames to choose from in plastic or metal and in a variety of shapes and colours.

Fast facts

  • Look after your child’s eyesight with an early eye test children’s eyecare
  • A child doesn’t have to be able to read to have their eyesight tested
  • Optometrists use fun ways to test a child’s eyesight, including shapes, colours and picture books
  • Eye examinations for children are paid for by the NHS up to the age of 16 or 19, if they are in full-time education.
  • At Specsavers, all children’s glasses are free under-16s’ NHS optical voucher.
  •  ‘While most parents are used to the routines of health visitors, dentists and doctors, many are surprised to learn the importance of taking their child for an eye test from the age of three.’ Mumsnet

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