Testing the eyes of little tykes
Children are funny people, one day they like carrots and the next day they don't like carrots. Same thing goes for their toys, friends and favourite Aunt. With so much variability, just how do you test their eyes?
Firstly, you lose all expectations of what an eye test should involve. For children, their co-operation will depend on things like the time of the appointment, how well they slept and whether they are anxious about being at the Optometrist. So each eye test must be tailored to the child on that day. That might mean we don't get all the information we need at the first visit, but that's okay! Sometimes multiple appointments may be needed to get the whole picture and build rapport.
Secondly, it is important to have a conversation with the CHILD (wherever possible) about how they think their vision is going and if they have any problems. Kids are often smarter than we give them credit for and their input is invaluable.
Finally, the optometrist needs to adjust the tests for the child's capability. Optometrists have a wide range of testing available, including methods that don't require any input from the patient. We can measure children's vision levels using grids, pictures and numbers, so they don't even need to know their letters.
Children of all ages can have an eye test but make sure you visit an optometrist who is comfortable seeing children, the experience for both you and your child will be much better!