It is important testing in children 


1 Spend time outdoors

Playing or exercising outside regularly can help to protect a child’s eyesight by reducing the chance they will become short-sighted. Studies have shown that fewer children wear glasses in countries where outdoor time makes up a significant part of each day, while the number of glasses wearers increases in nations with a greater focus on indoor study and recreation. For example, 60% of eight to 12-year-olds in Singapore are short-sighted, compared with only 14% of Australian children in the same age group. Studies suggest that around two hours of outdoor time each day is ideal to help protect the vision of children.

2 Put digital screens away at bedtime

Using mobile phones or tablet devices directly before going to bed can interfere with sleep. For this reason, it is a good idea to switch off devices an hour before turning in for the night. Night settings, which reduce the amount of blue light given out by devices during evening hours, may also help children to get a good night’s rest.

3 Protect eyes from the sun 

Children should be encouraged never to look directly at the sun. Sunglasses help to protect a child’s eyes by blocking out harmful UV rays. It is important to select a pair of sunglasses that are good quality – parents can look out for the CE quality mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:2005.

4 Eat a healthy diet

Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day can help to protect vision as well as supporting overall health. Vitamins found in oily fish and green, leafy vegetables help to keep eyes healthy.

5 Book a sight test

All children under the age of 16 are entitled to an NHS-funded sight test and financial help towards the cost of glasses + or contact lenses. Children should be seen by an optometrist around the age of three, so that any visual problems are picked up and treated early. After this, it is a good idea to take them for a sight test every two years, or as often as is recommended by the optometrist.





  • Eyes are more sensitive to bolder colours
  • Can see colour at around 3 months
  • Are able to focus after a few months

Your baby’s eyes should be able to follow you around a room after a few months. You can do a quick check -cover each eye in turn, if your baby doesn’t like having one eye covered more than the other one there may be a problem

6 months+

  • Eyes should be fully developed
  • Can judge depth and see 3D shapes
  • In rare cases may need glasses

A white reflection glimmer in the eyes (you might see this in photos) – might indicate a problem. An optometrist can check this

4 years +


  • At 4 to 5, vision screening should happen at school. If this hasn’t happened by the end of your
    child’s first year at school, and you have concerns about their eyes, take them to your optometrist
  •  Treatment for a lazy eye is most successful before the age of 7
  • 6 to 7 is one of the key age groups for short sight to develop

A squint or lazy eye often runs in families, and may not be obvious

The growth spurts

  • Eyes continue to grow and develop – so monitor your child’s vision on an ongoing basis Complaints of headaches or tired eyes after school might indicate an eye problem
  • 1 in 5 UK teenagers are short-sighted; 12 to 13 is a key age for it to develop

Short-sighted children – especially sporty ones – might benefit from contact lenses but they must be kept clean!


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