Children’s Eye Exam

It is important for children to receive regular eye examinations, as most of a child’s development in the early ages are from visual stimulation. Early detection of eye related issues is often easier to treat whilst a child’s vision is still developing.

The examination is as thorough as an adults sight test, with a few minor differences.

During the pre tests children will not have the pressure or the fields check unless specifically requested by the optometrist. The reason for this is that most conditions that these tests are looking for are very rare at these ages and some of the tests, like the pressure check, can be alarming to younger children.

How often do children get tested?

The NHS provides free examinations to all Children under the age of 18.
If your child is 15 or younger they will receive an eye test every year.
If your child is between 16-18 then they will have an eye test every 2 years.
After the age of 18 the NHS will no longer provide a free eye test unless you are eligible to do so.

Do children get help towards the cost of glasses.

Yes. If your child needs glasses the NHS will provide a voucher. The voucher increases in value depending on the prescription and visual needs.

The value of the voucher is to cover the costs of basic lenses. A basic lens means that it simply corrects vision and does not have any extras like coatings or thinning. Coatings and thinning is available at an extra cost. Your optometrist or optical assistant will be able to explain which extra is worth having for your child as not all options are warranted for every prescription.

Each optician will also have a range of frames that will either be free on the NHS or are at a reduced price. You are not limited to only these choices of frames just because you receive help from the NHS.

What is the youngest age for a eye exam?

The simple answer is there is no minimum age.

Within the first 72 hours after birth a simple eye check is performed as part of a full body examination. Basic sight tests are performed at various times through their early schooling.
Most high street opticians will see children from the age of 5 as long as they have a good grasp of the alphabet as this is primarily the symbols used for testing eyes. Some opticians, such as The Specialist Contact Lens Practice will see children much earlier. However not all opticians will see children younger than 5 years old so please check at your opticians before making an appointment.

If you are concerned about your child’s eyesight, you can also go through the GP and get a referral to see a specialist children’s opticians through the NHS.