Child's eye view
Children's eyes develop until they reach the age of seven. Optometrists and the NHS recommend that you have them tested at least once a year from the age of around three - an important step in looking after their vision through to adulthood. Whether your child is a pre-schooler, at primary or a teenager, their eyes are in good hands at D&A. We pride ourselves on understanding children's needs and our care starts from the moment they walk through the door with you.
Children's eye tests
Without regular eye tests, children with sight problems may have difficulty at school and lose confidence or fall behind. Eye tests can also help spot eye diseases and other health problems, such as diabetes, in the early stages. The good news is that our high-quality eye tests for children are easy to arrange, they're free on the NHS , and we make them as easy and fun as possible.
An eye test with a D&A Optometrist is totally painless and so quick - it takes just 20 minutes. You can, of course, stay with your child while they're having it. The Optometrist will check for a number of things, including:
- the standard of your child's vision.
- Whether they have a turned or a lazy eye.
- Their hand-eye co-ordination.
- Whether their eyes are healthy and developing normally.
- Whether your child is short-sighted, long-sighted or has an astigmatism.
- Whether their eyes are working together.
NB It doesn't matter if your child doesn't know the alphabet as the Optometrist will use pictures and shapes to assess their sight.
If your child does have a prescription following their eye test, we have a fantastic high-quality frame range for children and teenagers - including acetate, semi-rimless and stainless steel designs, brilliantly flexible metals and our trendy Designed for Young Adults range. Fashionable and practical, they come with child-friendly features such as adjustable nose pads, spring hinges and saddle bridges for a perfect fit. Many are available free with an NHS voucher and we provide Personalised Advice to help your child find the styles that suit them best.
Contact lenses and under-16s
Clinically it's safe for most children to wear contact lenses, though we advise waiting until they're old enough to clean and look after them properly unsupervised. They should also feel comfortable about putting lenses in and taking them out, and be prepared to come in for frequent check-ups. In most cases this means that from early teens onwards contact lenses can be a great choice for teenagers especially for playing sport.
Looking after children's eyes
- Make sure your child has regular eye tests once a year - it's the best way to ensure their eyes stay healthy. An eye test with a D&A Optometrist is more thorough than those offered at school.
- Look out for your child doing any of the following. Signs they may need an eye test: getting headaches; closing or covering one eye; underperforming at school - ask the teacher if they've noticed anything; losing their place when reading; using their finger to read; having difficulty with ball games; sitting too close to the TV.
- Serve plenty of broccoli, spinach, sweetcorn, orange and yellow peppers, kiwi fruits, oranges and mangoes. These foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help protect against some eye conditions.
- Protect their eyes from strong sunlight with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Children receive 50% of their lifetime sun exposure before they are 18 and there is growing evidence to suggest that over-exposure to the sun's UV rays can contribute to eye problems in later life.
- If your child is a bookworm or loves the computer, make sure they take regular breaks to prevent tired, sore eyes.
- We recommend sports goggles for children who play racquet sports such as squash or badminton, to shield their eyes. Ask at your local D&A about prescription sportswear for children.
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