The new school year is upon us, and alongside shopping for back-to-school clothing and supplies it’s also important to plan in those routine health appointments for your children including eye examinations.

Sight for school

When it comes to maintaining healthy eyes, there is nothing more important than having regular eye examinations.

For children, not being able to see clearly can be confusing in a busy classroom so a sight test can be a crucial factor in their learning and development, especially as the majority of everything they learn in school is presented visually.

Specsavers recommends that children have their first sight test by the age of three before they enter full-time education. This is because many vision problems that commonly affect children, such as lazy eye and squints, can be treated more effectively by an optician the earlier they are detected.

Warning signs

Quite often children will find it tricky to explain any difficulties they are having with their sight or might not be aware they have a problem at all, making regular eye examinations even more important.

There are some specific warning signs that may indicate that your child has a vision problem. Some of these include:

·         Wandering or crossed eyes

·         Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their eyes

·         Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects

·         Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television

Tests for children

Children’s eye tests are different from those for adults. Specsavers use specially designed charts that allow children to recognise shapes or pictures, or even to match letters, rather than the traditional charts that you may be familiar with. This means that the optician can test children’s eyes even if they are unable to read.

Opticians are specially trained to test children’s eyes. They know that the test room can feel a little intimidating to a young child so will use techniques to make it feel as welcoming as possible.

Advanced optical technology, which is used as a standard part of every eye test at Specsavers, plays an important role in the early diagnosis and prevention of many eye conditions, by photographing the back of the eye. Digital retinal photography is offered at no extra cost as part of the standard eye examination service. It can pick up conditions and abnormalities that are otherwise very hard, or even impossible, to detect through other techniques.

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