Guest blog by Kirsty Litherland
Do you remember getting your eyes tested as a kid? Maybe, like me, you spent a long time in blurry world before registering that this wasn’t perhaps ‘normal’ and that copying off the person you sat next to in class because you couldn’t see the board wasn’t what everyone was doing! Or maybe you had excellent eyesight and it just wasn’t a thing you had done because of that?
Whatever your memories of eye tests as a child are it’s definitely a memory we at Hollands would encourage your children to have!
It can be hard to know what good vision is like, and kids, especially younger ones, don’t really know what ‘normal’ looks like because they can only see, well, what they can see – they don’t know any different! Sometimes children can have eye problems that mean only one eye is seeing well, and this ‘good eye’ masks the fact the other is not so sharp – a condition called amblyopia, which if picked up early enough can be very treatable. Sometimes they struggle with seeing the board because they’re shortsighted, or they can get tired or suffer with headaches or eye ache because of an uncorrected prescription. Some eye problems can run in families so if this is the case for you it can be extra important to get your small person checked over.
Good eyesight is crucial for children achieving their best at school and for them enjoying their leisure activities.
So even if your son or daughter feels like they have great vision it is still very well worth them coming for a sight test so we can make sure that both eyes are not only seeing well, but also that they’re working well together and that they’re healthy.
Children’s eyes can be tested from any age – it doesn’t matter if they don’t know their letters yet or even if they can answer the opticians questions or not – there are lots of games that can be played and fun things that can be done to find out what your child can see and whether or not they need a little help. It’s not just the dry ‘read the letter chart’ experience you may have had when you were younger – the littlest to the biggest kids very much enjoy getting their eyes tested these days! And if they’re a little nervous they can bring their favourite toy (sometimes very handy so the optician can demonstrate what they’re doing on teddy first!), sit on their grown ups lap, and I encourage them to ask any questions about what’s happening or about the equipment in the room, anything really to put them at ease – we want them to have a good time at their visit! And there’s always the big decision at the end of what sticker to choose for doing so well.
If it turns out your child does need their eyesight corrected there are options there with both spectacles or contact lenses. Spectacles are super fashionable these days, but if your child isn’t keen on the idea or perhaps they’re very sporty, then contact lenses can be a fantastic option. And yes! They can be fitted for even very young children!
And specs come in such a huge array of styles and colours there really is a frame to suit all. Kids these days do not have to put up with the dreaded NHS selection of frames anymore (oh how i wish my first eye test was in the modern day! Brown and orange polka dot frames be gone!)
The final cherry on the eye test cake – just to make it even better – is that kids are also eligible for an NHS paid for sight test, and they get some help with the cost of their spectacles should they need them.
So what’s stopping you – why not get making some extra memories and get your kids booked in for their eye test this year!