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Q&A about children's eye health with optometrist Simon Kay - ANSWERS BACK

(65 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 15-Apr-13 14:58:28

We're inviting you to send your questions on children's eye health to optometrist Simon Kay this week. Send your questions before Monday 10am on Monday 22 April and we'll post up his answers on 2 May.

Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom has been a qualified optometrist for over 30 years, and has a vast experience of almost all aspects of optometry. He joined Specsavers Opticians in 1993 first in Liverpool and for 15 years as a director of Lancaster and Morecambe. He served on many panels and committees whilst a director, including those responsible for IT design and professional advancement. He was regional chairman of the North West directors of Specsavers for over 12 years and as such was involved in almost all aspects of optometry on a business and professional level. He has been involved on the Local Optical Committee for many years and is currently Vice Chairman in his area.

This Q&A is sponsored by specsavers. Read more about children's eye problems.

Tee2072 Mon 15-Apr-13 15:06:35

Both of my eyes are -7.5/+1.5, although the reading part of my lenses are only 2 years old. My husband's aren't much better.

Our son is nearly 4.

At what point do we start to get eye exams for him? I've been told to wait until he's at "proper" school, but I wasn't given distance specs until I was 6 when I probably needed them much earlier.

Should I push for something earlier, based on his genetics?

barleysugar Mon 15-Apr-13 15:10:20

Can I just put here, that there are a number of Mumsnet members who are in the Optical services that can also answer any questions anyone may have.

And we won't have a hidden agenda of advertising!

gazzalw Mon 15-Apr-13 16:17:02

How often can children have new prescription frames/lenses on the NHS? DS has had two pairs of glasses within the past 18 months both with different prescriptions. However, he has lost his most recent pair (which he got last summer) and as we paid extra for those ones we are reluctant to get him another pair until he is eligible for another free pair.

SquirrelNuts Tue 16-Apr-13 00:24:04

Are lazy eyes hereditory? I had a lazy eye as a child not caught early enough so i still have that lazy eye. Lady in specsavers told me its not. What age should they have eyes tested?
My childrens father is red green colour blind, could my children be colourblind too?

UpTheFRIGGinDuff Tue 16-Apr-13 10:11:23

Why does my DS who is 2 and a half,never exposed to harsh winds or sun have a pinguecula in his right eye?

No one has been able to give us an answer as to why it may have developed.

The baffled GP and optician have only been able to say it is very rare in young children but perfectly harmless and quite common in adults.
I wonder if it could be a problem for him though as he is so young?

I have read that it is to do with collagen degeneration and I wondered if there have been any links made with Hyper Mobility Syndrome,which he was diagnosed with last year.

carriedawayannie Tue 16-Apr-13 10:21:28

Tee - I took dd1 to the opticians at 4 and wished I had taken her sooner. DD2 has had glasses since she was just turned 2. She is now 2.7 and wears them all the time with no problems.

Both my daughters have + prescriptions (dd1 is +9 in both eyes, dd2 is +7.5 in one eye)

Are they longsighted or shortsighted?

Ashoething Tue 16-Apr-13 19:07:09

My dd-6- had just been diagnosed with an astigmatism? My dh also has this and I wear glasses for severe short sightedness. Eldest son was tested and is fine but they wouldn't test dc3-nearly 4-as said he is too young?

Is this too young to be tested given the family history of shit eyesight?<crap genes aplenty>

DementedFerret Tue 16-Apr-13 21:55:51

My ds was tested for a squint when he was about 12 months old. "It" was spotted at a routine GP visit when the dr asked if we had had anything done about it- we were a bit surprised as had never noticed anything unusual about his eyes.

At the first appointment the specialist we saw at the hospital wasn't concerned either, and said that the fact that the bridge of Ds's nose was (and still is) very broad sometimes makes it look like there is squint when really there isn't (something to do with one eye not being able to turn as far as the other because his nose is in the line of vision! Or something confused)

We were asked to come back in 6 months time. However we moved to a different area before that and I am ashamed to say that it fell off my mental "things to remember" conveyor belt and I never did follow it up- ds is 4 now.

There are no ongoing problems with his sight per se, routine reception class school assessment was fine and we/teacher has no concerns. However, occasionally (when he is tired in particular) I do wonder whether one of his eyes is a teeny bit skew-iff. Not sure whether this is actually the case or whether it's really MY eyes that need assessing smile

I don't know whether this is something I should try and seek professional opinion on again or not. Any advice?

Jasminoides Tue 16-Apr-13 22:31:38


My daughter is 3 and half years old and has worn glasses for long-sightedness for the past two years.

Two years ago, her prescription was R +4.50, L +6.25.

Since then it has steadily worsened and her current prescription is R +6.50, L +8.25.

Why is her eyesight continuing to deteriorate? Could it be due to an illness? At what age can we expect her eyes to stop getting worse?


onadarkcloud Tue 16-Apr-13 23:49:55

Hear Hear barleysugar wink

ScienceRocks Wed 17-Apr-13 14:48:45

Carriedawayannie, your DCs are longsighted. A + prescription means longsighted, a - one means shortsighted.

carriedawayannie Wed 17-Apr-13 15:14:55

Thanks Science. So that means they can see things at a distance but near things would be blurry without glasses?

Trazzletoes Wed 17-Apr-13 15:48:45

At what age should children start eye tests?

ArtemisKelda Wed 17-Apr-13 16:21:18

I'm shortsighted (-1.75) as is DH (-2.25). How old should the DCs be before we take them for check ups. Also, are the DCs more likely to be shortsighted because we both are or does parental eyesight have no impact on children.

barleysugar Wed 17-Apr-13 16:41:28

Also, many areas of the country run NHS visual screening programmes for children in a preschool or primary school setting. These are provided by trained experts in paediatric eye problems, are quick, fun for the child and extremely accurate in detecting binocular disorders like squints.

If you are unsure if your region has a screening service, ask your Health Visitor, they will know.

Family history is very important in deciding age and frequency of eye tests needed. Mild short sight (ArtemisKelda) is unlikely to show up in a young child, and if all is well at the start of primary school, we'd be happy to not re-test until adolescence.

amidaiwish Wed 17-Apr-13 16:47:16

My daughter's eyesight is deteriorating fast. She is now 9
August 2011 her prescription was -1.5
march 2012 -2.5, -2.75
September 2012 -3.5, -3.5
April 2013 -4.5, -4.0

Will it keep deteriorating at this pace? Is there anything we can do to slow the decline?
(I wear lenses but didn't need them til age 14. At age 39 I am a steady -5.25, -6 for the last 15 years approximately. DH is -3 in one eye, fine in the other.


Pozzled Wed 17-Apr-13 16:57:56

My daughter is 4, and had her eyes tested a week or so ago. Her vision was fine but the optician noticed that one pupil is bigger than the other. It's very slight- I can hardly tell- but they recommended we get it checked by the GP. How common is it to have different sized pupils, and is it likely to cause any future problems? Do we need to be more carefulabout protecting her eyes from the sun or anything?

AnonYonimousBird Wed 17-Apr-13 17:47:35

My DD had her tear ducts cleared aged nearly 3. It was quite successful, in that it meant she wasn't constantly streaming from her eyes (which was both uncomfortable and causing her skin on her cheeks in turn to become sore). She teared a bit for a while and then it massively slowed down.

However, she is now 7.5 and she mentioned something the other day about needing to wipe her eyes regularly. Clearly, with her being at school and so much more independent, I haven't really noticed this - but if it is bothering her, should I take her back to the specialist? I had assumed that as she grew, her ducts had also grown and would make tear flow easier? I wonder what might have triggered it again.


ScienceRocks Wed 17-Apr-13 17:48:01

Carriedawayannie, you've got it spot on!

carriedawayannie Wed 17-Apr-13 18:04:16

Science thanks

breatheslowly Wed 17-Apr-13 19:02:38

I had a lazy eye treated with drops, patches and something I remember as putting lions in cages. DH has worn glasses from about 8 years and I have from 18 years. I am particularly keen to ensure that DD is tested for having a lazy eye and is treated early enough if needed. By what age is it critical to complete testing/treatment for a lazy eye? How are eye tests done if a child doesn't know their letters?

carriedawayannie Wed 17-Apr-13 19:40:20

For dd2 they used pictures breathslowly. The hospital said it is tricky when they can't talk but dd2 has been wearing glasses for about 6 months now - she is 2.7 now and there has been an improvement in her vision.

carriedawayannie Wed 17-Apr-13 19:43:14

DD1 has a lazy left eye. The hospital told us that they had until she was about 7 to improve it. After that age there isn't a lot they can do.

I noticed it when she was 3. Her vision was below driving standard. She is 5 now and her vision is above the driving level.

fuzzpig Wed 17-Apr-13 20:05:26

Hello! Apologies if I'm repeating anything as I've only skimmed other posts blush

My question is about DD, who is 5. Last year she had her first eye test and was given glasses. Not at all surprising as my family are all very short sighted.

The optician said her prescription was very very low and it was really a judgement call IYSWIM, he just said 'give them a try'. Thing is she was shy/nervous in the eye test so I am unsure if that affected her result.

She does wear them when reminded - only for whiteboard type stuff, as recommended, but mentions headaches.

To get to the point - I'm just wondering how on earth do we know if the glasses are right for her when she is still quite young - is it a case of muddling through until she is a bit older and can test more reliably, or insisting she persists with them and the headaches will subside, or do we need to get her tested again now or what?! confused

Thanks smile

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