Children’s Clinic

Good vision in childhood is not only essential for learning and development, but also shapes the way they go on to see the world into adulthood. Examining childrens’ eyes is important.

A child is born seeing form and shape, but without accuracy. This develops over those first seven to eight years of life, according to how well the eyes align and how evenly-matched they are, power-wise. If the part of our brain which is responsible for sight fails to receive clear or aligned images from an eye, it fails to learn what good vision is, and is left permanently impaired. This is what we call Amblyopic, but you may know it as a ‘lazy eye’ – in both cases, an eye that will never see perfectly – with or without glasses. Once the child is past eight years of age, we have no way of changing this situation.

Approximately 15% of children in the UK have undetected visual problems (1/3 with some level of Amblyopia, 2/3 with undetected focusing problem) and yet only 7% of children aged under five are taken for an eye test. The problem here is that a child has no reference point of what good vision should look like, so might not raise a concern with you. Pre-school vision checks are negligible and there isn’t a national framework for children’s vision screening. This is where we step in.

Children’s NHS Examination

Fortunately, the NHS allows us to provide a fully-funded eye examination annually for every child under 16, and is something every child should do.


Examining childrens’ eyes is a particular skill. The whole process is made as relaxed and as fun as possible, whilst simultaneously we are making observations and notes on how the eyes are working.


All vision function tests are age appropriate. If a child isn’t too confident identifying their letters, instead, we use an eyechart of shapes – such as an apple, a fish or a house in reducing size. For younger children it’s a game of shape matching – matching a shape on the chart in the mirror with a shape on the card in their hand. We even have a particular test that can ascertain vision levels in toddlers before they can talk! So, we have an array of assessment options for our very young patients.


Many children can be nervous at the thought of visiting the Opticians - nobody like the idea of a test! The good news is that they invariably leave with smiles (and a sticker), keen and ready for their next visit.