Back to School Eye Test for your Child

Have you got a child that is getting ready to start school or return to school for the new school year?  Scheduling in a “Back to School Eye Test” annual eye examination is just as important in their preparation for the school year as buying their uniforms and school books. 

That’s because issues with vision can lead to issues with learning, behaviour or socialisation if left unaddressed.

It’s also a common misconception that children only need to get their eyes tested if they are complaining of vision difficulties, but in fact we recommend children get their eyes tested from six months of age, and then at regular intervals after that.  That’s because children may not realise that they have an issue with their eyes (it could just be that it has always been that way for them), and also because eyes change and develop over time so while all might be well at a young age, issues could slowly develop as the child reaches school-age.

Read on to hear the answers to some of the most common questions we are asked about children’s eye tests.

back to school eye checks for children

What are some of the signs that my child may have vision difficulties?

Often children don’t notice or understand that symptoms they are experiencing could be due to an issue with their vision.  If your child mentions any of the following, we’d suggest booking in for an eye test:

  • Squinting

  • Excessive blinking

  • Redness, or irritation around the eyes

  • Complaints of headaches

  • Sitting too close to the TV or holding books closer in order to read them.

look out for eye problems in children

How do you test children who can’t read?

If you’ve had an eye test as an adult, you may have been asked to read letters on a chart.  For younger children, we know that won’t produce very good results, so we have a range of tests that we can use instead.

For our really young patients, we look at factors such as how pupils respond to light and if they can fix and follow objects.  For toddlers and pre-schoolers we can add in tests using symbols or pictures, and have tests that can diagnose conditions such as lazy eye.  For all children (and adults!) we spend the time making sure our patients are comfortable and relaxed so that a visit to the optometrist is viewed as an enjoyable process.

eye tests from six months of age

Do you have kid-proof glasses?

We understand that young children are masters of destruction so our range of kid’s glasses are built to withstand a bit more of a battering.  Features such as impact-resistant lenses are standard.  We also make sure the frames fit your child perfectly, so they won’t fall off easily, and that your child feels comfortable wearing them. 

regular eye tests for children

My child’s school offers free vision screening when they start school.  Why do they need an eye test with an optometrist as well?

It’s great that children have access to a free vision screen when they start school, but it is not a replacement for an in-depth assessment by an optometrist in a clinic.  We also believe that children need to be tested before they start school, so issues can be addressed as soon as possible.  This not only helps to treat issues with your child’s vision, but also helps to prepare your child in other ways – such as for viewing writing on a board in the classroom, reading books or interacting with others in the playground.  

good vision for good learning

What’s next?

The first step is to make an appointment for your child using our online booking system. Generally, children’s eye tests are bulk billed through Medicare, and rebates may be available through your private health insurance, if you child is included on your policy, and you have optical cover.  We also ask our patients to undertake additional imaging at a cost of $30*, using our machine that provides a detailed picture of the back of the eye.  

*Note that this machine is not suitable for very young children.  Your optometrist will discuss this with you during your appointment.

We love working with kids, and it is so important to start early with vision health to both build a picture of eye health over time, and to identify issues as soon as possible.  Be sure to make an appointment to get your child’s vision tested before they start the new school year.

This website does not provide medical advice.  It is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).

Back to school eye tests
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