When your child starts school you want them to have the best possible start don’t you? New uniform, new shoes, new pencil case, pens and pencils, new school bag…

What a cutie!

What a cutie eh?!

But did you ever stop to wonder if your child is seeing as well as he/she possibly can?

If there is an underlying, undiagnosed and/or uncorrected prescription, you child could start to struggle in class, possibly becoming unruly and disruptive as a result, and ultimately falling behind, totally unnecessarily.

Have you noticed any of the following in your child: -

  • Does he/she hold things very close to their faces to see them? Or tend to sit very close to the television?
  • Are they screwing their eyes up when concentrating on things?
  • Are they withdrawn and jumpy?
  • When they look at you, does it seem like one of their eyes is looking in a slightly different direction? (Cross-eyed?)
  • Does the white of their eyes look nice and bright, clean and white?
  • Are both pupils the same size?
  • Do their eyes seem to be “shaky”?


Some eye conditions are hereditary. So if you, or your partner, or various grandparents historically wear glasses or contact lenses, it is wise to get your child’s eyes checked A.S.A.P., particularly if the prescriptions involved are on the high side.It is a common misconception, but your child does not need to be able to recognise and understand letters in order to have their sight tested. If they can recognise pictures, we can test their eyes using something called “Kay cards”…

Kay Cards

via/ kaypictures.co.uk

If you are particularly concerned about your child (i.e. both parents wear spectacles/contact lenses), then even before this, the Optometrist can use something called “retinoscopy”, where they shine a light in the eyes, that can give them a pretty good idea of whether there is an underlying prescription we need to be aware of.

The Optometrist can check for: -

  • Long/short sightedness and astigmatism
  • Muscle imbalance (a “squint”)
  • Colour vision defects


Colour vision charts

via/ verivide.com

  • …as well as eye and lid infections, conditions such as MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction) and symptoms of the increasingly common “dry eye”.

A lot of people don’t realise that in the same way we learn to speak, we actually “learn” to see things as well – it is a learnt behaviour. Between the ages of 12-18 months, the two eyes are developing binocularly to the best of their ability (i.e. learning to work together). If one (or both) eyes aren’t seeing things clearly/correctly, this can have a huge impact on the development of the child at a particularly crucial age.

So many of these simple errors are correctible if caught early enough!

Back in the day, children that wore glasses were often subject to ridicule by their peers, and we are therefore understandably reluctant to have our children go through the same. But gone are the days of the good old-fashioned “NHS spectacles”…

    Celebrities wearing glasses

via / **

With everyone from Justin Bieber to Will-i-am frequently snapped wearing them, spectacles are officially “cool” now, and modern children’s frames come in an abundance of sizes and styles, and in a veritable rainbow of colours. Truth be told, I’m sometimes quite jealous that they’re too small for me… 

So, the moral of the story is… even if you have no real concerns about your child’s eyesight, please, please, pretty please, get them checked before they start school. Children are amazingly resilient and may push their eyes to the absolute limit before problems start to present themselves, and by then it could be too late to do anything about it!

Prevention is better than cure, so give them the best chance to excel!

Stock Photo

(Stock photo)

N.B. According to the January 2015 issue of Dispensing Optics magazine there is now a legal definition of a “dispense”, which “starts at the handover of the prescription and includes not only the final collection but also subsequent adjustments and repairs, and supervision.” Make sure your child is getting the professional assistance they are legally entitled to! *rant over

**Photos courtesy of www.pritchard-cowburn.com; www.express.co.uk; www.beautyundercover.com; www.mstarz.com; www.urbanoptiques.com; www.deadline.com; www.rebloggy.com; www.healthyceleb.com; www.tumblr.com; www.photos.posh24.com.