the eye blog
EYE CARE INFO & UPDATES
Parents often wonder how accurate children's eye tests are.
That's understandable because young children often don't respond the same way as adults do during an eye examination. Children can find it harder to tell the difference between lenses presented to them when the optometrist asks, "Which is better? 1 or 2?".
But an optometrist with experience and expertise in testing young children will be able to test children's eyes accurately. Paediatric eye examinations require a different set of skills and equipment than regular adult eye tests, and also more patience on the part of the optometrist. Being able to maintain a child's interest and attention are important to getting the most from their eye test.
At Eyecare Concepts Optometry, we take the following steps to ensure that children who come to us for their eye care are well looked after and that their eye tests are as accurate as possible:
LONGER CONSULTATION TIMES
As an independent optometrist we can choose to spend more time with our patients. For children we allocate 40 minutes for their eye test. This gives the child time to settle in an unfamiliar environment, feel more comfortable, and to allow the time to perform all necessary tests without rushing the child. We also spend time explaining our findings to the parents in detail.
ACCURATE DIAGNOSTIC INSTRUMENTS
Adults' eye test results are determined by subjective responses (what the patient says during the test) and in a child's eye test more weight is placed on accurate objective findings (what the optometrist sees). Objective results, and the interpretation of these results by a skilled optometrist, are a vital part of children's eye tests. That means we can measure a child's eyesight and prescription without needing 'correct' responses from the child. To do that our clinic is equipped with advanced instruments that are highly accurate, and our optometrist cross-references the findings between different instruments to give the best possible assessment of a child's vision.
CHILDREN'S EYE TEST CHART
For children who are still learning their alphabet, we have a range of children's eye test charts to assess their vision. These include paediatric symbols (Lea symbols chart), numbers, 'Tumbling E' and 'Landolt C' eye charts designed specifically for testing younger children.
ALL TESTING BY THE OPTOMETRIST
The optometrist is the best person to carry out all tests in a child's eye examination. This includes preliminary testing and eye imaging tests that many optical chain stores delegate to their support staff. By being involved in the entire eye test journey, an experienced optometrist can pick up on subtle signs and issues that may otherwise be missed.
NO CHILD IS TOO YOUNG TO BE TESTED
Some parents tell us they were sent away by other optometrists saying their child is too young to be tested. Our optometrist can assess children of any age, even infants as young as 6 months. All children should have a comprehensive eye test by the age 3 to ensure that any vision issues that may interfere with normal vision development are detected early.
THE USE OF EYE DROPS WHEN NEEDED
While eye drops are generally not required in a child's eye test, they are occasionally necessary to make a definitive diagnosis of a child's eye condition. We will let you know if eye drops are recommended during your child's eye test. This is a called a cycloplegic examination, when we temporarily numb the eyes' focusing muscles. This in-depth examination is helpful when a child's focusing varies significantly during testing, or when the possibility of a very high prescription or lazy eye is detected, or when it is necessary to check the back of the eye in greater detail through dilated pupils.
BULK BILLING CLINIC
Our clinic's eye tests are bulk billed. That means there are no out-of-pocket costs to have your child's eyes comprehensively tested by us. And we also welcome parents bringing their children here for a second opinion if they have been tested elsewhere but are unsure of the results or have doubts about the recommendations given. It's one of many reasons why families across Melbourne are choosing Eyecare Concepts for their children's eye care.
If you have any questions about our children's eye test services here at Eyecare Concepts Melbourne, please contact us on (03) 9819 7695 to speak with our children's optometrist.
Philip Cheng - B.Optom (Melb) Ocular Therapeutics (GCOT). Optometrist at Eyecare Concepts Kew East, Melbourne. An experienced eye care & contact lens practitioner with expertise in myopia control & orthokeratology.