A child’s eyes can be examined from birth. The extent of tests performed to establish normal sight increases as a child grows. Children’s eyesight continues to develop and mature up to the age of eight. Before that critical age the visual system is “elastic” and can be trained and moulded to see properly. That is the sole reason why regular eye sight tests are so important at this age. Seeing clearly and equally is the foundation to normal binocular sight.
Preschool children don’t know what “perfect” sight is. If a small child requires glasses to see properly, it is unable to communicate whether one or both eyes are defective, as it doesn’t know what it is like to have normal sight. If a lazy eye or a squint is detected, this can sometimes be corrected with glasses, or in some cases by surgery. Even if a child can’t speak or identify letters, an optometrist can objectively assess the eye sight and eye health.
Picture and letter matching are also used to establish what level of sight a child has. Before any child starts school a full eye examination should be performed. This ensures that the child can see the board, the books, and colours. Sometimes a child’s behaviour and lack of attention can be a simple result of not seeing clearly.
Rubbing of eyes and excessive blinking can also be a symptom of visual problems in a child. Most primary school children, once they are confident saying their letters, can take an accurate eye test. Examinations are recommended every year, unless there is an obvious change from normal sight. If glasses are required, the NHS provides help with the cost of the lenses. McCracken Opticians has an extensive range of frames for all children.
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