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Look after your Child's Eyes with a "Back to School" Eye Test

As the summer holidays draw to a close, many parents are busy planning for the new school year – getting sorted with new uniforms, PE kits, pencil cases etc.

However, are you sure your child's eyes are ready for the new term ahead?

Poor vision can have a damaging impact on childrens' ability to learn. Yet, research shows that as many as one in five children attend school with an undiagnosed eye problem. The problem is that children often aren’t aware they have a sight defect. Also, there may be no obvious signs for parents or teachers to pick up on.

So, what are some of the common eye problems to look out for in children?

Short-sight (Myopia)

Children who have myopia can see clearly up close but find distance objects blurred. The first signs include difficulties seeing the board at school or sitting too close to the TV. Myopia usually starts between 9 – 13 years of age and progresses through the teenage years before stabilising.

Research shows that myopia is on the rise worldwide and rates have doubled in the UK over the past 50 years. However, thanks to modern technology, myopia can now be controlled with specially designed contact lenses or spectacles. These have been shown to reduce myopia progression by up to 67%. For more information check out our page on Myopia and Myopia Control.

Lazy eye

A lazy eye is a serious but treatable cause of reduced vision. It often occurs when there is a significant difference in prescription between the two eyes, so that the weaker eye fails to develop normal vision.

While some cases of lazy eye are associated with a “turn” or squint, a large number don’t show any obvious signs. The good news is that if detected early enough, a lazy eye can usually be treated successfully.

Long-sight (Hyperopia)

Children who have hyperopia find it difficult to focus on near objects. For example, when reading or looking at a computer or phone screen. Symptoms to look out for include headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain and tired eyes.


Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea at the front of the eye. This leads to distorted or blurred vision at distance and near. Spectacles will sharpen things up, helping the vision to develop properly.

Free Eye Tests

It’s never too early to get your children’s eyes tested. In fact it is a good idea to get them checked out before the age of 4, so that problems are discovered before starting school. The earlier a problem is detected, the greater the chances of it being corrected and treated successfully.

So, don’t forget to include an eye test on your “Back to School” list and make sure your child’s eyes are ready for the year ahead.

Remember, eye tests are free under the NHS to all children under 16 and full-time students under 19.

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