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Eye-sight/eye tests

(24 Posts)
Ellbell Thu 03-Mar-05 13:34:16

Hi all

I have two related questions...

Does anyone know whether children's eyes are routinely tested in schools now or not? I have memories of having mine done in the 70s (hilarious, as they always used to take my glasses off me and say 'now what can you see' and never believed my honest answer that I couldn't even see which wall the eye chart was on ) but obviously that was a long time ago.

The reason for asking this is that I am wondering if my dd needs glasses. She will be 5 in May and starts school full-time after Easter. I haven't noticed particular problems with her seeng things, but she has started commenting on writing in books being 'too small' and it is making me wonder if she needs glasses. They use the ORT books, and her teachers sometimes ask her to read the 'words introduced in this book' section on the back cover of the book, and she says that this is hard for her because the words are too small. I tried it this morning and she did seem to find it hard to read even words she knows well, like 'a' and 'the'. But what I don't know is whether it's normal for kids to find it hard to read small fonts when they first start reading (I'm guessing there is a reason why 'first books' use large type...) or whether there could be a problem with her eyes. I may be a bit paranoid about this because (as I hinted above) I have atrocious eyesight, and even though I am literally as blind as a bat without my glasses it wasn't picked up till I went to school.

Thanks for any advice on this one.


coppertop Thu 03-Mar-05 13:38:08

I don't know about the small fonts etc but ds1 started school in September and had his eyes tested there 2 months later.

Freckle Thu 03-Mar-05 14:07:01

Not sure mine have ever had their eyes tested at school. I take mine to the optician every year to have sight tests anyway. It's available on the NHS so cost needn't be an issue. If you are at all concerned about your child's sight, then make an appointment.

Ellbell Thu 03-Mar-05 15:33:19

Hiya and thanks to both of you for your replies.
I realised after I posted the question that the obvious thing to do was just to take her to the optician anyway to be on the safe side. I'd much rather be told that I'm worrying about nothing... May be a stupid question, but will they be able to test her sight effectively even if she doesn't know all her letters...?

cazzybabs Thu 03-Mar-05 15:39:09

I asked the optician this and he said they can test children who don't know the letters - I am sure both of mine will need glasses at some point as both me and dp are blind as bats..its simply a question of will they keep their glasses on as to when to get them tested.

Freckle Thu 03-Mar-05 15:40:21

Children don't need to know their letters to have their eyes tested. DS3 didn't know all of his when he went for the first time. They have all sorts of ways to test sight.

milliways Thu 03-Mar-05 15:40:38

My son has his eyes tested at hospital aged 4 (he had a Bells Palsy) and they used pictures. At the opticians they show them pictures & letters up close to see what they know first.

sparklymieow Thu 03-Mar-05 15:44:02

My DD1 and DS have their eyes tested at the hospital, because they have lazy eyes and longsighted, they were referred to the hospital by the pead. who deals with their CP, but I have Dd2 eyes checked at the opticians and she is only 3.

Aero Thu 03-Mar-05 15:45:38

Yes - sight can be tested in very young children. Both my ds's have had eyesight concerns and have been under the care of the hospital and I was amazed at the ways they test a childs eyesight.
Ds1 has something called Dwayne's syndrome, which actually doesn't affect his vision at all - is more to do with a muscle in his eye which doesn't work properly. He's had sight tests since he was a year old. Ds2 is also being tested regularly partly because of ds1's problems - he's 14mths.

coppertop Thu 03-Mar-05 15:47:01

When ds1 had his eyes tested at school they used pictures rather than letters. Although ds1 knew all his letters they still prefer to use pictures to avoid any confusion.

chipmonkey Thu 03-Mar-05 16:17:27

Ellbell, I'm an optometrist and its no problem testing kids eyes, we have picture charts and in any case for kids we rely mainly on retinoscopy, (shining a light in) Are you long or shortsighted yourself?

Ellbell Thu 03-Mar-05 17:32:58

Wow! Whatever you need, you find it on MN!

I am short-sighted and astigmatic.

At one point, when she was quite little, my HV became convinced that my dd had a squint. I couldn't see it myself but took her to the doctor and the doctor said her eyes were fine (moved in synch, that is) but she had a broad epicanthus (sp?) - i.e. wide-set eyes - and that made it look as if she was squinting sometimes.

Thanks everyone for your messages. Guess who'll be ringing the optician tomorrow?

Clayhead Thu 03-Mar-05 18:01:41

Hello Aero!

Remember me? My ds has Duane's (sp?) too.

Thanks for replying to my thread when I got his diagnosis, I was chuffed to find someone who had experience of it!

Aero Thu 03-Mar-05 18:17:40

Hi there Clayhead - couldn't remember who else had the ds with duane's - ds2 is now being seen, but they think it's also because he has wide set eyes which makes him look like his eyes aren't moving in sync, but want to keep him on their books for a while yet just to make sure. Ds1 has been discharged and his actual eyesight is fine.

Clayhead Thu 03-Mar-05 18:38:32

Hi Aero, my ds is now 18 months old and it has been determined that his actual eyesight his fine too, just a bit long sighted at the moment, he just has a problem with the movement of the eyes (Duane's, only in his right eye). My local hospital have been great and I am taking him for 3 monthly check ups.

Glad to hear your ds is discharged!!

SleepyJess Thu 03-Mar-05 18:39:31

Ellbell, DD got hers tested last year, towards the end of her Year R. DS1 (age 12 as you know) has had his done various times over his school career.

(He's just got glasses for his astigmatism actually.. has to wear them for reading/black (white!) board, computer etc.) He looks v cute and studious in them.. )

SJ x

Aero Thu 03-Mar-05 20:44:38

CH - Duane's only in ds1's right eye too. Makes for a great party piece!

Ellbell Thu 03-Mar-05 22:28:41

SJ - Bet your ds1 looks gorgeous in his 'glassings' (as my dd1 calls them). He looks gorgeous all the time!

Aero - Can wide-set eyes be a problem, then? (Sorry if I'm being paranoid!)

Thanks again.

Aero Thu 03-Mar-05 23:19:43

Don't think so Ellbell. It's just that because I already have ds1 who has this duane's syndrome (which basicallly means he can't move his right eye to look to the right - he turns his head to compensate and no-one would ever notice there's a problem), that when I saw ds2 looking like his eyes weren't always moving together, I was concerned. But wide set eyes or bridge of nose in ds2's case being rather wide can make it appear as if this is the case, but he has been checked and will be checked some more until he's a bit bigger and they're absolutely sure there's no problem with his vision, and that his eyes are, in fact moving together. HTH if it makes any sense!

Ellbell Thu 03-Mar-05 23:40:22

Thanks Aero. I understand now.
That's exactly what my dd has (wide-set eyes, I mean) which made the HV think she had a squint because it looked as if her eyes weren't moving in synch, even though they were.
I have decided to take her to the optician's anyway, just in case. Better safe than sorry.
Hope your ds doesn't have any lasting problems with the Duane's Syndrome and that your ds2 doesn't have it.

chipmonkey Fri 04-Mar-05 01:35:44

Ellbell, she could have astigmatism if you do but its not a dead cert, for example, I'm the only person in my family with it, lucky me! I'd get it checked out but it could as you say just be the transition to smaller print thats bothering her rather than an eyesight problem. Good luck!

jabberwocky Fri 04-Mar-05 02:43:21

Ellbell, I am an optometrist also. I highly recommend getting an exam before the age of 6. If the child has lazy eye problems the prognosis is much better if caught early. It is really no problem doing an exam on a child so I wouldn't be concerned about her being able to do it. however, I would not wait on the school screening. We are going to have ds tested at age 2 just for a baseline.

Aero Fri 04-Mar-05 13:19:03

Thanks Ellbell.

Ellbell Fri 04-Mar-05 14:01:52

Thanks everyone... Will get her checked out. I had no idea that astigmatism could run in families. Mine seems quite bad (opticians usually tut a lot when they look at my eyes... but that could be just that my mascara is badly applied ).
Thanks again. You are all great!

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