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NOW CLOSED Do you have a child aged 3 - 12 years? Take part in a survey about children's eye tests for Specsavers - £250 John Lewis voucher to be won

(104 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Mar-13 14:15:49

We've be asked by Specsavers to find out what Mumsnetters' opinions are on children's eye tests.

The survey is open to all UK Mumsnetters with at least one child aged 3 - 12 years. It doesn't matter if your child wears glasses or has never been for an eye test, we'd like to hear from all of you.

To take part in the survey please click here.

Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £250 John Lewis voucher.

Thanks and good luck,


gymboywalton Thu 28-Mar-13 14:22:06


it's an interesting subject

i think ALL children should be given a vision check really early because the sooner a problem is picked up, the sooner it can be fixed.

We were lucky and my son's vision problem was picked up when he was 4. prior to that test we had NO idea there was anything wrong with his eyes.

If it hadn't been picked up, his life would have changed by his poor vision. he wouldn't have been able to drive a car for example.

AmandinePoulain Thu 28-Mar-13 14:28:43

Done. I need to get dd1's eyes checked really, I mean I take her to the dentist twice a year automatically, it's a shame really that we don't view eye tests in the same way. She actually wants to wear glasses because her best friend does grin.

There was no box for 'under 1' in the question about the ages of my children so I selected '1', hope that's ok!

Indith Thu 28-Mar-13 14:44:03

Done. Ds1 was referred after reception school screening and had to have patch therapy and wears fairly bottle top thickness glasses. He is tested every couple of months but the survey results would show him as not being tested often because he is done at the hospital not the optician!

I think the difference between dentist an other health services are that opticians are private businesses so while free treatment is available for children it isn't something that is on our radars to do, it isn't until school screening that you think about it much unlike registering for your GP when they are born, the standard development checks that your HV gets in touch with you for, registering for local NHS dentist etc.

Close to my heart. DS had eye test in reception of primary and that his eyesight was quite poor. I had no idea he couldn't see properly! [guilt emotion] We got referral to eye hospital, but I took him to opticians & he has been under their care ever since.

His eyesight has improved with glasses, but still nowhere near perfect. Optician is happy for DS to only wear his glasses when reading.

Tee2072 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:30:21

I was actually told by an optician that they couldn't test my son's eyes until he started school. Interesting if that isn't true.

Dolallytats Thu 28-Mar-13 15:45:47

Done. My son has a squint and has been wearing glasses for 3 years ,since he was 2. They are now a part of him and he thinks they are cool-which, of course, they are!!
If my mum had been listened to when I was little, my eyesight wouldn't be as bad as it is now. I am almost completely blind in one eye, and the other is weak. I've never known any different, but I do think everyone that can see out of both eyes must have double vision!!!

Done. I have no idea about eye tests thy and assume they get done at school. I know it was in the news a little while ago about neglihent parents not getting their children's eyes tested, that is me!

Why did we have to give their ages twice?

Areyoumadorisitme Thu 28-Mar-13 16:04:52

Tee2072 - the standard optician probably can't test a child until school age but ophthalmologists in hospitals can do it from birth almost. The thing is you only end up there if there is a problem.

DS1 has had glasses since 11 weeks old, and they made a massive difference immediately. They certainly could test his eyes (proper hospital opthalmologist) but with small children it involves eye drops and can be fairly traumatic. Not something I'd do with all children if there wasn't a reason to suspect a problem.

Don't all kids get an eye check around 3.5/4 yrs now? When DS2 had his done they said not to bother getting another eye test until age 12 although we did take him to the optician before that.

Tee2072 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:07:05

Interesting, areyoumadorisitme.

My son is 3.9 and I have heard nothing about an eye check, BTW.

Indith Thu 28-Mar-13 16:19:15

They get screened in reception.

The optician here said that although they can see children, they should really be seen at the hospital.

Of course it is all this confusion that adds to the problem really.

But yes testing small children involves horrid drops so really in most cases it is best to wait until reception screening (which doesn't involve drops and just indicates if they may need a full test) unless there is a reason to suspect a problem.

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Mar-13 16:23:15

my local optician tests from age 3. Dd was under hospital orthoptist care from 18 months as she had a squint snd has worn glasses since then as she is long sighted. She is now 9 and we go to the optician instead. Ds has glasses for close work but he only got them last year at the age of 6. He had an eye test at the nursery before he went to school and his eyes were ok then-he had a very mild prescription compared to dd.

Done. I must admit I have been more diligent about eye tests than the dentist. This is most likely because of my own hang- ups (I hate the dentist to the point of having been phobic about it in the past) . However, DS2 had 6 monthly checks as a toddler after a HV referral because of a family history of a squint and because we weren't sure DS wasn't showing some signs too. I know all babies appear to have a bit of a squint especially when tired but DS's eyes were more obvious than that. He is fine but I was more conscious of getting both my boys' eyes tested as a result.

Gosh, didn't realise there was such a difference in advice.

No school eye tests here, just advice to go to the opticians. Opticians a happy to see them from 4. I certainly wouldn't want to wait until 12 to go.

No eye drops for DS when he had hospital tests as a 13 mth old. Probably depends on the severity of the problem.

Dysgu Thu 28-Mar-13 16:36:34

Both my DDs have worn glasses and patches since before they turned 2 yo. DD1 was tested as a baby as part of neurological testing but things seemed fine in the early days until she seemed to develop a squint almost overnight which got us referred straight back to hospital.

DD2 developed squints in both eyes before she was 2yo.

I would not think it 'worth it' to try to get the eye drops into a child on the off chance as it is always pretty traumatic in this house! DD1 is now 6 and is eagerly awaiting the time when she is 'big/old' enough to transfer to optician care outside of the hospital as she will not longer need the eye drops then.

I am not sure you could make eye tests compulsory. Are there any other health checks that are compulsory?

We are waiting to find out if DS, aged 14 days, will also be joining our glasses gang grin

Tee2072 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:46:17

Well, we don't have reception in NI, so he won't get screened there.

Perhaps in P1.

I asked about it because I've worn specs since I was about 6 and my husband not much older than that.

I thought ds had perfect eyesight. I guess from reading this it may have stopped but HV used to call you in for a pre school eye test and this picked up a problem. We were referred to the hospital and prescribed glasses. He wore them for 3 years and now no longer needs them. Some sight problems can be corrected for good in the under 8's with temporary glasses. I am grateful early testing picked this up.

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Mar-13 16:53:08

I am in Scotland so dont have reception here either. My ds got a test at nursery before he started P1.


Just in case anyone notices this - it would be really useful to have the reading charts in lower case letters for children who haven't started learning upper case yet. Just a thought (based on DS1's eye tests).

MirandaWest Thu 28-Mar-13 17:02:57

As I'm really short sighted and only started wearing glasses when I was 6 ( pretty sure I needed them earlier) I took DC to the optician from about 3. Have been taking them every 6 months i think. They are 9 and 7 now and so far their sight is still fine smile

snowballschanceineaster Thu 28-Mar-13 17:14:01

Done. My dd is 12 and has never had her eyes checked. I never really thought about it. I suppose it's because I didn't have issues when I was young. Turns out her dad did though so that'll teach me to make assumptions. If she was headachey, struggling at school or complaining about her vision, I'd undoubtedly have had her checked. Am thinking now about whether she'll go for it! Having enough trouble getting her to do the things she has to do with the old pubscence! Will have to think of a way to tackle it.

bluebump Thu 28-Mar-13 17:43:15

My DS (4) went for his first eye test this week, he had a request from the hospital along with his classmates (and presumably all Reception aged children here) to come to the local hospital for a check up.

My sisters eyesight in one eye is terrible, she should have had a patch over the other eye when she was younger so i've always been keen to get DS's looked at even though I don't wear glasses.

HairyMaclary Thu 28-Mar-13 18:00:47

This is timely as I took my two to specsavers today. It's routine for us, once a year in the Easter holidays but that's because my family re all significantly short sighted. DS1 was under hospital orthoptists from birth to age 5 (very prem and at high risk of further issues) when he was discharged. I took them both a year later to an optician when DS2 was in reception, this was just about old enough as he knew enough capital letters to cope. I would however have requested a hospital referral if I felt he needed anything sooner.

This is timely for me too as i took my dd1 who is 4.4yrs to specsavers last week as she kept complaining of headaches. I really had concerns about how reliable the test would be with a 4yr old, she can read letters phonically but is shy with new adults. She could read the letters but kept turning to me for reassurance as reading is a new skill. The optician switched to pictures and colours and away she went. She sat on my knee and i could see over her shoulder so i could tell she was giving reliable answers. The only issue came when lenses 1 and 2 looked the same and she didnt dare say so as she thought it must be wrong.

As a child she was tested for retinoblastoma (petrifying) so i knew how much the hospital could test. When i rang specsavers to book dd in i thought i'd be referred to the gp. I was surprised the test was so available, easy and free! Its not something ive ever been given info on.

ouryve Thu 28-Mar-13 18:41:37


Funnily enough, DS1 had his tested last weekend, at our local Specsavers and we're currently waiting on new glasses for him. Love that he managed to get some free sunglasses, too - it's been a frustration for him that he can't wear shop bought ones because he's quite short sighted and it's been too expensive to buy prescription ones when his eyes are changing so rapidly.

DH and I both wear glasses, for different reasons. DH didn't need them until puberty and i didn't get mine until I was 23 - I had them tested after struggling to read while I was revising for my finals. We've been told that DS1 is on course to end up a lot more short sighted than DH.

DS2 isn't going to be so straightforward. He has SN and is non-verbal. Given that he's approaching the age that DS1 was when he started to struggle, we're going to ask his paediatrician if he can be referred to have his tested in hospital.

bebejones Thu 28-Mar-13 19:11:02

Done! Been thinking of taking DD (4.5) for a while now, so this has prompted me to get it booked!

acrabadabra Thu 28-Mar-13 19:37:32


Pretty sure neither of mine (both under 4) have any issues atm. But a friends ds developed a squint around the age my dd is now so I am aware.

scrappydappydoo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:14:05

Done. Both DDs had eye tests as part of their reception health screening thingy. I go every 2 years as I wear glasses but how often should I take dds if there aren't any obvious problems?

chickensaladagain Thu 28-Mar-13 20:44:24

my dd2 wears glasses and has done since she was 3

at 3 she was happy to wear them, at 9 not so much and it's amazing how often she forgets them hmm

her prescription isn't strong enough to warrant contacts though

my MIL told me when she first started wearing them that it would make her eyes worse, I told her she was talking bollocks well a bit more nicely than that

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Mar-13 20:54:43

I think children are supposed to get their eyes checked annually

Badvoc Thu 28-Mar-13 21:02:48

Ds2 has just been found to have some astigmatism, like me sad

FannyBazaar Thu 28-Mar-13 21:20:08

I first took my DS for eye test when he was 6 to rule out any eyesight problems interfering with his struggling to learn to read. Close up fine, slight shortsightedness picked up, would never have been noticed without a test as only slight, now a specs wearer.

I paid for a private eye test to look in more detail for anything that might interfere with learning to read.

I was surprised to be told that I should have brought him in at 4 for an eye test as that's when they should be tested. I didn't know this. It's not mentioned in the instruction manual, just the dentist, which is mentioned all the time.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Thu 28-Mar-13 21:25:23

dd1 wasn't picked up by reception screening, but her YR1 teacher noticed her squinting to read the board, which prompted us to take her for an eye test. She is thrilled to have glasses now.

Haberdashery Thu 28-Mar-13 21:40:27

I don't think DD had an eye test in Reception. She is absolutely desperate to have glasses so I'm sure she would have told me. She is 6 and doesn't seem to have any problems with her vision. I do sort of informally test her a bit as I got glasses at 8 and am certain I'd had awful eyesight for a long time before that. I will probably take her for a test in the next year or so.

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Mar-13 21:43:28

looks like adults and children should get their eyes tested at least every 2 years but may be annually if they have glasses. DD gets hers done annually but does have glasses for long sight.

montmartre Thu 28-Mar-13 21:51:25

Done- it's really, really important to get their eyes checked- loads of issues can be helped greatly if children get specs early enough.
My DC have had specs from age 6.2 and 3.2- in fact my youngest is on the cusp of being classed as visually impaired. We're lucky in the fact that we picked up his issues early, and he has 4 years or so to improve his vision before it's set for life (he's severely long-sighted).

Unfortunately the school vision tests are not very good at picking up long-sightedness. My DD's problems were completely missed by the in-school testing, but then no surprise as mine were too 30 years earlier!

Thankfully we knew the signs to look for, and managed to pick up on them.

Mine all had eyetests at around 3 (definitely preNursery) with an ophthalmologist at our local medical centre. It was done via our HV/GP due to mine and DHs generally crap sight! There weren't any drops involved though, it was all pretty fun and low-key. Because they were fine at those tests we didn't start regular Optician tests until they were older - around 5 or 6 iirc.

I knew my eyesight was bad from the age of 7, when I had a school test and couldn't read the letters clearly. However, the school didn't contact my parents and they thought I said I needed glasses because my best friend wore them hmm I didn't get glasses until I was checked again at 10 after I started suffering from chronic migraines partly triggered by eyestrain. I wouldn't have benefited from wearing glasses earlier as I have an astigmatism, but it might have helped and it might have prevented me suffering through 6 months of awful migraines.

BikeRunSki Thu 28-Mar-13 21:53:35

DH and I are both shortsighted, DH astigmatic too, so when DS started squinting when he was 2, I spoke to the health visitor. i was n't sure if he was trying to focus, or was just scowling, and DH was only 4 when he started wearing specs. HV referred us to the Community Opthamologist ? Orthoptist ?. It was pretty interesting what she did, and I was surprised what she could do with such a young child.

Although DS's eyesight was declared fine, they didn't tell me anything more about getting his eyes tested as he got older or anything. I have subsequently spoken to my optician about this. My health visitor told me all about weaning, dentists, shoe fitting, all sorts, so i am surprised that nothing has been mentioned at all about eye testing.

momma39 Thu 28-Mar-13 22:11:07

my children are a lot older so no i have not done it.
just wanted to say i took all my 3 daughters to specsavers from an early age they were brilliant with them all and now as adults they go there themselves.
every year to the opticians and twice a year to dentist.

DorisIsWaiting Thu 28-Mar-13 22:21:37


I didn't realise until DD2 got a dodgy result on her screening in Reception that I should have been taking them annually for a sight check. both the other dd's have been now.

It is so important to get them done before they are 8 when their vision problems become harder to 'fix'.

piprabbit Thu 28-Mar-13 22:35:31


Just wanted to add that, although I have said that children need to be able to read to be tested I'm not 100% sure that is correct. However as an optician told me they had to be able read - that is the answer I've gone with.

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Mar-13 22:37:55

dd first got her eyes tested at 18 months and couldnt read (obviously!). They used drops instead to assess her prescription. When she was a little older they used pictures instead of letters and they didnt use the letter charts until she knew her letters and was at school.

MrsShrek3 Thu 28-Mar-13 23:27:10

done smile

Glitterfairys Thu 28-Mar-13 23:31:01

Survey done smile My eldest wears glasses and I wear contact lenses and I have had glasses from a young age.This has made me think that I should take my three year old and get his eyes checked out and that maybe he is not too young .

DH was in glasses at 7 but very very short sighted. Now fixed with laser. But this family history made me nervous about DD eyes
Different opticians have diff policies over testing, the first one I went to told me no tests till age 5 (just their policy, not the general policy of the high street) so I went to the GP and got her referred to hospital optician.

So embarrassing, she clocked the 'testing' age 3, got cheeky and told them what was on the pictures, then said, a smaller house/fish/car. An even smaller house/fish/car. A teeny tiny house/fish/car. so at 3 her sight was ok.

But by 4.5, she was in glasses and her sight is progressing shorter at about 1.00 per six months as she grows. She has a test every 6 months and new prescription each time.

the one thing I would change if I could, is the time it takes to make up kids glasses. Yes you get a free replacement pair if damaged, but a week to make? really? Not good enough. 48 hours please!

ouryve Thu 28-Mar-13 23:48:10

I think the delay is in the lenses, shattered. Mine take a while to make because of the strength of the cylinder prescription I need. My longest wait was 3 weeks, with the shortest the 3 days my last varifocal lens replacement took, when one eye was found to need a stronger prescription than originally tested after just 3 months.. DS1's first sphere +0.75 pair took the obligatory hour. He's up to +1.5 now and we've waited all week.

Cakethrow Thu 28-Mar-13 23:55:38


This has given me some food for thought.

sleepyhead Fri 29-Mar-13 01:02:33

We're in Scotland so ds had his eyes tested as part of the screening programme at nursery (aged 4). He failed so was refered to the ophthalmology department at the local hospital where they tested him more thoroughly and were happy with his eyes.

He was slightly more long sighted (?) than they would have expected at his age so we were told he might need glasses when he was older, but we weren't told to get his eyes tested again.

I'd be interested in knowing what the recommended frequency was for eye tests. I guess because it's not part of an NHS programme, like dentists as someone said above, it's not really on my radar. I'd never dream of not taking him to the dentist.

motherofvikings Fri 29-Mar-13 06:42:01

I haven't had ds' eyes checked yet as he is able to see far more than me! blush I will take him before he starts school though. I have worried for a while about colour blindness as DH has it but ds seems fine. smile

Done. Only school eye tests here, me includedblush (30 years since my only eye test). I figure since I can read small print far away or teeny print close up my eyes are fine.
Same for DCs.

gazzalw Fri 29-Mar-13 07:32:20

Hi my family have terribly poor eye-sight so it's always been on our radar to actively ensure that the children have regular eye-tests. They have been having them since they were in Nursery. DS started wearing glasses in Year 6 and thus far DD's eyesight is good but not sure it will hold out that much longer - we shall see.

LeonieDeSainteVire Fri 29-Mar-13 08:28:03

There is a difference between short and long sight though isn't there? DH and I are very short sighted and astigmatic and have worn glasses since 7. The advice I got for short sight was to take DC from about 6 as that when it tends to start developing. Long sight and squint is different and can be present very early on and can be corrected (unlike short sight) but I don't know if high street opticians have the skills to identify this in young children - should they go there or to the hospital specialist units. We thought DD might have a squint and she was under hospital care from 18months to 3 years. Her eyesight then was fine as it turned out but she went to standard opticians at age 7 and needed glasses for short sight.

So should they be tested at hospital routinely when younger or only if a problem is spotted. Is leaving it till 5 and going to the opticians enough? I don't know enough and feel there should be more information.

Please correct me anyone if I'm wrong in any of this post.

Interesting, I've worn glasses since I was 4(ish) but have never thought about getting the DC's eyes tested as they don't seem to have a squint (which is what I had).
Think that maybe when I go for my next checkup I will get them done too

ilovepowerhoop Fri 29-Mar-13 09:16:39

Vision Express says this:
Children can be tested at any age. It is recommended that an optometrist sees them before they start school and start learning to read. Often, vision problems can be the reason a child does not perform well at school, for example because they cannot see the board. The earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment. Children's eyes are fully developed by the time they are 8 years old so it is very important to have any problems detected before this.

Specsavers says this:
We advise that children should have their first eye examination at around three years old. Learning difficulties can sometimes be caused by uncorrected vision problems, so the earlier they can be detected, the better the chance of correcting them.

Sokmonsta Fri 29-Mar-13 10:44:25

I have 4 children. Dd has had glasses since she was 2. Ds doesn't need glasses and the twins have had glasses since they were 8 months. Nothing touched upon hospital referrals really and tbh I fail to see how Specsavers can offer the assessments the hospital ophthalmologists etc can. However, they have been brilliant with all three in my glasses wearing children and once we ironed out a couple of kinks re charging for the glasses, we haven't had a problem there.

I actually think there needs to be more provision for children of all ages to have free glasses, as in totally free. Dd has to have her lenses thinned as they are so thick the frames would slide down her nose. Dt2 will be the same and possibly dt1. But once they are discharged from the care of the hospital, the opticians want to charge us £30 per lens for thinning to an acceptable depth. I've got 3 kids in glasses, plus need the same myself. We don't qualify for help other than dc would get standard nhs voucher. So I'm looking at £180 just for lenses on 3 pairs of glasses. And hope to hell the kids don't damage the lens.

Done. I'd honestly never even thought about this. Dd1 has just turned 3, so it seems I ought to get her eyes tested soon.

ilovepowerhoop Fri 29-Mar-13 13:06:06

i would shop around as the optician I currently use for dd (a local independent) does not charge for thinning lenses whereas the one we used before did charge

KansasCityOctopus Fri 29-Mar-13 13:26:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shelley72 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:49:21


i had DSs eyes tested at opticians just before he started school and will continue to do so yearly. DD has been under optometrist at hospital since her 8 month check as her eye looked as though it was squinting and we have a family history. DS was quite disappointed when he couldnt have glasses!

it certainly has never been suggested by a HV that a routine eye check is good, in the same way that they push dental visits every 6 months (which they also go to).

RealityQuake Fri 29-Mar-13 14:04:34


Quite timely as I took mine (well, those old enough) for an eye test last week - in which we learned that eye tests that from now on eye tests will be a one at a time thing as doing 3 + baby was a bit much and that all the kids so far seem to have my long-sightedness rather than DH's very short-sightedness. My 8 year old and 6 year old got glasses and think they're great, I had to get my 3 year old toy glasses as the opticians doesn't think she needs them just yet and she felt quite left out. Our HV only suggested it when we had concerned about my 3 year old's colour vision (and appears there is a delay in the usual eye test around here) and Vision Express did very well with her even though they said they weren't used to doing tests for kids her age.

I only got a couple school tests as a child, which only tested for problems reading the board which wasn't my issue and once I got glasses as an adult I wonder how much better I'd done without the unneeded eye strain. Eye care should be taken as seriously as dental care, an eye test can tell so many things and really improve quality of life.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 29-Mar-13 14:16:48

Ours both went when they were in school nursery - so aged 3.

Our optician has a chart with pictures on it - cup, aeroplane, tree etc so no need to know any letters or numbers.

They have both been screened in reception too.

JumpingJetFlash Fri 29-Mar-13 14:23:27

As went to a specsavers in Oxfordshire when my dd was about 4 and they had a chart with pictures like flowers or planes rather than letters which it bought was a GREAT idea for children who don't know their letters :-)

I found it odd that there was an answer option for a teacher having noticed a problem with a child's eyesight, but no option for the parent having noticed a problem.

BackforGood Fri 29-Mar-13 15:46:43

and reminded that I've 'been going to' get all 3 of my dc re tested for yonks now but haven't got round to it blush - I MUST do it this holiday.

haggisaggis Fri 29-Mar-13 15:56:50

ds was picked up by school nurse in P1 aged 4.5. dd was picked up by health visitor at 2 year check. Both are long sighted. In Scotland, eye tests are free for everyone - although for adults think they try to limit you to one every 2 years unless you notice problems before.

ByTheWay1 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:02:47

Done - am surprised to see people don't even think of getting them tested.... for us it WAS as automatic as getting them signed up with a dentist.

Ihatecobwebs Fri 29-Mar-13 16:30:11


DS has been wearing glasses since he was 3. He goes to the hospital every 4 months - once a year for the biggy with the drops, the rest just to check that everything is ok. Thankfully DS doesn't mind going (we have a tea & cake stop afterwards), and though he doesn't like the drops as "they sting" he never complains. The worst bit for him is waiting for his vision to come back & his light sensitivity to go. He is long sighted, +8.5, and now has glasses strong enough for him to pass the driving test number plate bit, but I am still surprised at where he stops on the chart and what he can't see. He can't complete the 3D test reliably either. Unfortunately for him, he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, or an astronaut sad.

We go to a local optician to get his prescription filled - and they are great. I don't have to pay extra to get his lenses thinned (just wait a few extra days), do as long as we choose the "right" frames, they are free. They do odd repairs etc without charge or fuss, eg bent frames, new nose pieces etc.

Thankfully he has never broken a pair, or scratched the lenses enough to need a replacement, but I think that can be done on the NHS as well.

Done. Am interested to know when to take my son to the opticians for the first time. He doesn't seem to have any problems but not sure when to take him? Can anyone answer? He's 3.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 29-Mar-13 19:07:33

You can take him anytime Ninja

piprabbit Fri 29-Mar-13 19:10:45

Quiet, it might be worth letting the optician know how old he is when you book the appointment. That way if you get an arse like I did you can change opticians if you need to.

bit of an issue with Q10 - does wearing glasses as a child make your eyes weaker? That's an "it depends" answer, because it's all to do with what the actual problem is. Wearing glasses all the time with mild short sight can make the eyes dependent on the glasses - DD2 wears her glasses at school, but takes them off to read at home.

So although I ticked what is probably considered the wrong answer (yes to that question), I hope the ambiguity of it is taken into account in the analysis.

All my DC had their eyes tested under the age of 4 - we use an independent optician who is also an opthalmologist (sp?) and he was happy to see them even though they weren't confident with the upper case letters as my eyesight is pretty rubbish (-8.5 and -8) and we thought it was likely to be hereditary. Currently two of the three have glasses (but are nowhere near as bad as I am), and it may be that DD3 will miss out till she's much older.

ToomuchWaternotWine Fri 29-Mar-13 19:47:26

I hope they take into account that we get free eye tests for everyone on the NHS in scotland already in their survey figures. Ds and I went to the opticians last week actually. March is "maintenance month" in this house, I get my smear, dentist and eye test all done, Ds has dentist and eye test too. (We also go dentist in sept/oct together).

Thanks guys. I have to make an appointment myself so ill ask if they can do his first eye check too. thanks

gemma4d Fri 29-Mar-13 20:48:31

I have a hereditary sight problem in my family, so my kids both had sight checks by hospital opthalmology dept from a very young age.

Both are clear smile but DD1 has one weaker eye which would have developed into poor sight (I think that was the meaning of a very technical explanation!) - she had glasses at 1-2 years old, and we are hopeful that she will only need them a few more years. I don't know when it would have been spotted if she was "normal" (ie not the extra checks my kids get), but I am positive it would have been later - and so probably less effective, and harder to get her used to wearing glasses?

If they can do meaningful, useful tests on kids from 6 months old - maybe they should do this for all kids?

I think an interesting factor that the survey overlooked was whether the parents wear glasses, surely this would have a bearing on how aware they are about their child's eyesight?

prettybird Sat 30-Mar-13 09:57:26

Ds has had his eyes tested every year since he was 3 or 4 (no problems with the optician doing it before he could read as they used pictures). Optician even had/has a box of cheap toys that they gave to young children as a reward. He's now 12 and so far his eyes have been fine.

He goes along with me as I need to go yearly 'cos I've got contact lenses.

See it in the same way as a dentist.

In Scotland, so eye tests are free - although both dh and I have close relatives with glaucoma so even in England I think my tests would be free, iirc.

PainForLife Sat 30-Mar-13 13:06:50

Done - found the survey very interesting!

MousyMouse Sat 30-Mar-13 13:47:30

I also think eye tests should be done earlier, maybe one at a year old (for astigmatism) and definately one before starting school.
I also found it difficult to get an appointment with an optician (dc was 4), they wanted to fob me off to go to the eye clinic. but the eye clinic didn't accept self referrals and gp doesn't want to refer for non-medical...

Patchouli Sat 30-Mar-13 16:09:57

My DD was refered to the hospital after the reception health check.
The school nurse said that they'd discovered a lot of unknown eyesight problems since the health visitors in our area had stopped doing the 2 year check.

smokinaces Sat 30-Mar-13 18:17:07


I was more conscious of their eye health as I wear glasses myself. Ds1 complained of double vision aged three and has worn glasses full time since, about three and a half years. Ds2 we took as routine from three, but he only needed glasses recently aged five for reading.

Specsavers have been brilliant. They use drops and multiple tests to ensure they are accurate and their after care is excellent.

MakeHayNotStraw Sun 31-Mar-13 08:21:17

Done. I found it really interesting to see how they tested a 2yo's eyes (and she just went again a couple of weeks ago)


youarewinning Sun 31-Mar-13 17:27:02


My dad is extremely long sighted, my DS father extremely short sighted and I have severe astigmatism with slight short sightedness!

Wasn't surprised to find DS has moderate atigmatism with mild (and not unusual for a child) long sightedness!

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Mar-13 19:01:29

We had our DS checked at Specsavers, then an independant local optician picked up his colour blindness less than six months later. We were a bit miffed that thge specsavers test didn't include a check for colour blindness.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Mar-13 19:02:16

oh and specsavers said he was fine; the independant optician prescribed glasses. he is much happier and getting on better at school since getting them!

ClaraOswinOswald Sun 31-Mar-13 19:23:22

Done. My 2 have had eye tests routinely from a young age. We have a great Specsavers near us, the optician has been in the news several times for going above and beyond so I trust him to spot anything if it was there. He even once drove the 40 miles to the nearest eye hospital with a patient in need of emergency treatment but with no transport of their own.

notcitrus Mon 01-Apr-13 10:01:57

We have annual fairs at the health centre with stands offering advice on all sorts of healthcare stuff. I asked at the eye care stand whether ds should have an eye test seeing as he'd just turned 4, and they said no, he will get tested at school during Reception, and no point earlier unless you suspect a problem.

So that's the official NHS advice in my area, which seems to contradict what the opticians upthread are saying.

Kithulu Mon 01-Apr-13 11:09:50

In this area all children get invited to go tho local hospital for eye check when they are 4. Does this not happen as standard elsewhere in the country?

Meglet Mon 01-Apr-13 15:25:22


The children are tested in reception year once they start school and referred to the hospital if they have any problems.

aristocat Mon 01-Apr-13 15:31:05

Very interesting, mine have only had the check at school. Never thought about getting them tested otherwise.

SilveryMoon Mon 01-Apr-13 15:39:19

I wear glasses and have done for about 7 years (although should have done it years ealier than that)
Ds1 had a general health check at school last year (reception) and the report that was sent home said it was recommended to have his vision tested further.
He had to go to the opticians every 3 months to keep a check on it and was then given a prescription.
He now has to wear glasses for focused activity as it's a concentration aid.

Ds2 is just 4 and I am now thinking about taking him to get checked, maybe when I have to go again next month, but he cannot consistently recognise his letters yet, especially not in uppercase.

ilovepowerhoop Mon 01-Apr-13 16:22:13

they dont need to know letters to get an eye test

SilveryMoon Mon 01-Apr-13 16:52:16

When ds1 went, the optician used both pictures and letters. I wasn't fully convinced it was an accurate test because of ds1 not being 100% confident with uppercase letters and the pictures were rubbish.

ClaraOswinOswald Mon 01-Apr-13 21:05:59

My girls were tested before they could read so it was mostly pictures, but the physical eye exam is probably even more revealing to the optician. Like the dentist, it is good to get them used to going young. Eyesight is still developing when young so spotting potential problems while young can be preventative of worse problems later in life.

RaisingGirls Mon 01-Apr-13 22:19:10

Done, but I thought the statement "All children under 8 should be entitiled to one free pair of glasses on the NHS" was tricky. If, as I think is the case (?) problems detected with the eyesight of under 8s can often be resolved, it could be the case that the child needs several pairs of glasses with different prescriptions and also different sizes before their 8th birthday.

Are they suggesting that if the nhs paid for one pair, parents would have to fund any more? If that were the case, some parents would be unable to afford (or reluctant to pay for!) the additional pairs of glasses required and their children might not get the treatment their eyes need.

I felt that under 8s should be entitiled to as many pairs of glasses as were actually necessary for their treatment, just as they would be entitled to a new back brace (for example) in the treatment of spinal problems, as they outgrew the old one.

Just a thought... I actually don't know what the current rules are!

I read in our 'red book' that if there was a history of eye problems in the family, you could ask for a referral. Because of my crappy eye sight, I contacted our community mid-wife team when DD was about 2.5. We got directed to the community orthoptic clinic and from there to the hospital eye clinic where she saw an ophthalmologist and, as it turned out, ended up with a prescription for long sight and astigmatism.

She sees the orthoptists every 6 months and the ophthalmologist every year. Eventually, she will transfer to a regular opticians.

Wish this wasn't limited to age 12 as its a subject that I feel quite passionate about.

And I agree with Kitten. Vision of both DS1 and DS2 deteriorated quite rapidly after the age of 12.

yummumummy Tue 02-Apr-13 21:20:49

Done. Must admit I need to be a bit more deligent about eye tests.

BirdyBedtime Tue 02-Apr-13 21:27:00

Grrr just lost long post. But after huge probs with DD's vision not identified until P1 we took DS who also has probs but beause he was identified at 3 his prognosis is much better than DD who has been left with residual weakness in one eye. Don't let the idea of drops put you off. IME they are only used after a weakness has been identified to get the right prescription so if your DC's eyes are fine they won't use them.

Gigaflops Tue 02-Apr-13 21:28:22


lunar1 Wed 03-Apr-13 05:44:55

Couldn't add it on the survey but ds1 had his vision checked at an nhs clinic at our local gateway when he was 2. This was due to a ?squint which he did not have so no follow up was needed.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Apr-13 13:30:56

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey - am pleased to say sunnyshine has been selected as the winner of the £250 JL voucher. I will PM you now for your details.

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