You child’s eyes – Vision Information for Pre-School Children

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Children’s eyesight is important! It plays a significant part in their development, helping them to:

• Make sense of their surroundings
• Learn new skills
• Understand whether things are safe or not

Children’s eyesight develops until they are around 7 years of age. It is therefore important that problems with their sight are identified early so that treatment can be effective.

Indications that vision may be reduced:
• Your child struggles to see things in the distance and always sits very close to the TV
• They always hold books very close to their eyes or tilt their head to see properly
• They are unusually clumsy

Indications that a squint may be present:
• Your child’s eyes do not appear ‘straight’ – one eye may appear to turn inwards or outwards at times
• You have noticed unusual eye movements
• They have a habit of closing one eye
• They frequently screw their eyes up or rub them
• They have regular headaches
• Their eyelid appears to droop

In line with national guidelines, all children in mainstream and special schools (who are not current hospital or community eye patients) will have their vision tested between the ages of 4 and 5. In Milton Keynes this is carried out by the School Nursing team, who are trained by hospital Orthoptists.  It is advised that all children who are home-educated or attend independent schools should be assessed by a community Optometrist (Optician) at the age of 4 years.

What should you do?
If you have no concerns about your child’s eyesight or eye appearance – the School Nurses will test their vision at school and refer them to the hospital if necessary. If you suspect that your child has poor vision or may have a squint – discuss your concerns with your Health Visitor or GP. They will make a referral to the hospital if necessary. If either you or any of your other children wore glasses or had a squint under the age of 7 years – take your child to a community Optometrist (Optician) for testing. They will refer to the hospital if necessary.

When to see the doctor (GP)
If your child has any of the following conditions they should be seen by your GP:
• Eye infection
• Eye injury (may need to go to A&E)
• Blocked tear ducts
• Styes/ cysts (lumps and bumps on the eyelids)