Children’s Eye Clinic appointments

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Your child has been referred to the Hospital Eye Clinic.

At your first appointment your child may be seen in one, two or all three of the following departments:

1. Orthoptics
The Orthoptist specialises in assessing how well your child can see and how well their eyes work together. We test vision in many different ways, using pictures or letters – children do not need to
know their alphabet!

2. Optometry
The Optometrist (Optician) will carry out a test to see if your child needs glasses (refraction) and check that both eyes are healthy (fundus examination). This test may require the use of dilating drops.

3. Ophthalmology
The Ophthalmologist is the Eye Doctor. Most children referred by Health Visitors will be seen in the Orthoptic new patient clinic initially. Most children referred following school vision screening will be seen in the Combined Care Clinic (Orthoptics and Optometry). However, a few children may need a further opinion by the Ophthalmologist.

How long will we be at the Hospital Eye Clinic?
This will depend upon how many people your child needs to see. Children attending only the Orthoptic new patient clinic should allow approximately 30 minutes for their appointment. They will not require dilating drops. Children attending the Combined Care Clinic will be seen by both Orthoptists and Optometrists and should allow between 1.5 and 2 hours for their appointment. Most patients attending this joint clinic will require dilating eye drops. Future follow-up visits to the Orthoptic department alone should take around 30 minutes.

Waiting Area
We have a small children’s waiting area in the Eye Clinic and there is a cold water dispenser available for all to use. The hospital entrance area has a shop and coffee shop. However, you may wish to bring your own snacks and drinks.

Dilating Eye Drops (Cyclopentolate)
Eye drops are usually necessary when Optometrists assess young children. The drops allow them to look inside the eye more easily. Their tests indicate whether glasses need to be prescribed or not. The drops will enlarge the pupil (black central part of the eye) and blurs the vision, which may last for up to 48 hours. The drops sting a little as they are instilled. However, the process is quick
and the health professionals are very experienced at distraction!

The drops will make your child more sensitive to light for the rest of the day. In sunny weather, it is advisable to bring a hat or sunglasses for your child to wear on the journey home.

If your child has additional needs. If you have a child with additional needs and think that they may find the hospital visit difficult, please contact us. If children are unable to see several clinicians in one visit, we may be able to schedule the appointments separately. Unfortunately, the waiting area can be busy and noisy at times. We appreciate that children with additional needs may have difficulty sitting in the main waiting area. If this is the case, please speak to a member of staff and we will do our best to find them a quiet area to wait.

Further information
This website is designed for children and has short videos about visiting an Eye Clinic. You may wish to look at it with your child before attending your appointment.

If you have specific concerns about your child’s visit to the Eye Clinic you can contact the Orthoptic Department on 01908 995532. There is a department answer phone – please leave your child’s
name, hospital number/MRN if you have it and your contact details. We will aim to respond to your query within 24 hours.