Poor vision can hinder a child’s development as up to 90 percent of what a child can learn is from what they see.

Children should have regular eye examinations from around the age of three years old, or earlier if you think your child has a visual problem. It is recommended children have their eyes tested before starting school and worth noting that children do not need to know their letters in order to complete the test as pictures can be used as an alternative.

Some signs and symptoms that may indicate your child has an eyesight problem are;

  • Regular headaches
  • Screwing up eyes
  • Blinking frequently
  • Rubbing eyes

Why eye checks are important

The sooner any eye problem is found, the sooner you and your child will be able to get any treatment and support needed.

Children may not realise they have a vision problem so, without routine tests, there’s a risk a problem may not be spotted. This may affect their development and education.

When should I check my child’s eyes?

Your child will have had an eye examination from the moment they were born as part of a newborn physical examination. Then after, your child’s eyes should be checked:

  • Within 72 hours of birth
  • Between 6 and 8 weeks old
  • Between the ages of 2-3 years old if you think there is a problem
  • Between 4-5 years old (before they start school)

All children can have an NHS-funded sight test once a year if needed and more often if clinically necessary. NHS Vouchers subsidise the purchase of spectacles for children at a level that reflects the cost and type of prescription needed.

If you have any concerns about your child’s vision at any stage, please book an appointment with your local optometrist.