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Yes, children require special eye drops that serve two purposes: First, the drops will temporarily paralyse the muscles in the eye that do the focusing allowing us to perform a refraction and accurately check if there is any need for glasses. Secondly, the drops will enlarge the pupils and allow us to see inside and examine the health of the interior of the eye.
With a lot of patience and a lot of toys! Going to the doctor can be frightening for children so it’s important they see someone who is experienced with kids. There are a variety of non-threatening techniques to assess a child eyes and at Moorfields we have an array of age-specific tests to ensure your child receives appropriate care no matter how old they are.
The same ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun that can harm your skin can also cause eye damage. This applies just as much to infants and children as to adults, so sunglasses are recommended for children as well. Make sure the sunglasses have a label which says they give full protection from UV radiation.
Some common signs to look for include:
1. One or both eyes appear misaligned or do not track together
2. Turning or tilting the head to see things
3. Squinting, closing one eye, or blinking excessively
4. Poor hand-eye coordination or excessive clumsiness
5. Frequent headaches or strained eyes
6. Frequent nausea or dizziness
7. Holding things very close to their face
Trouble signs that require immediate attention include:
1. A white pupil
2. Swelling or droopy eyelid
3. Excessive redness, tearing, or discharge
4. Double vision
Most physicians examine the eyes during children’s medical examinations. However, they will refer children to someone who is a specialist in ophthalmology if they encounter any sign of amblyopia, difficulty in measuring vision, or if they suspect an abnormality of the alignment or structure of the eyes. It is recommended that all children have their vision checked by a paediatrician, family physician, or ophthalmologist by the age of three, or sooner (age six months to a year) if there is a family history of eye problems. Fortunately, ophthalmologists can perform a complete eye exam on children of any age.