How often should you get your child's eyes checked?
Eye conditions are much easier to treat while your child’s eyes and vision are still developing. As a parent, it’s crucial to notice any changes in your baby or toddler’s vision as they grow. Young children are unlikely to recognise an issue with their sight.
In some cases, you may need to invest in glasses for babies or toddlers if their vision isn’t developing as normal. Most infants are able to follow a moving object by the time they are around 3 months old; by 6 months, they should be able to see well in terms of focusing and colour vision.
Glasses for babies and toddlers can help to correct any problems that appear early on. Your child’s eyes should be checked at regular intervals throughout their early life, starting with a basic check from the midwife or health visitor within 72 hours of birth. Following that, the health visitor should carry out another check at around 6-8 weeks old.
Your child’s GP may carry out an additional check at around 12 months old, with a full eye examination carried out by an optician at 2 years old. After this, it is recommended to get your child's eyes checked every 2 years by an optician, or more regularly if advised.
Recognising vision problems in babies
Knowing whether your baby has good vision eyesight, or not can be difficult especially when they can’t express themselves! It is your job as the parent to look out for any discrepancies and to take them to an optician as soon as one is identified.
A lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, can sometimes occur in young children as their vision develops due to one or both eyes not being able to build a strong link to the brain. You might notice that one eye looks different from the other; this could be a squint, where the weaker eye looks to a different direction to the eye looking forward, which can lead to amblyopia. This is said to occur in around 1 in 50 children. It is usually treated with a patch being placed over the stronger eye allowing the weaker eye to encourage it’s development. If it is caused due to a refractive error your optician will be able to prescribe the corrective glasses required.
A much rarer vision problem in babies is cataracts. It is estimated they affect between 3-4 in every 10,000 children in the UK. Some babies can be born with cataracts, known as congenital cataracts. Look out for cloudy patches, rapid eye movements or a squint.
Another rare health problem is retinoblastoma; a rare type of eye cancer that usually affects young children under the age of 5. More than 9 out of 10 children are cured; if it is picked up early, it can be successfully treated. Look for an unusual white reflection in the pupil, a squint or a change in colour of the iris.
Choosing the right glasses for babies
It’s important to remember that young children, toddlers and babies’ noses are not fully developed, which can make it difficult for them to wear glasses. You will find the bridge of the frame will slide down their face. If you’re considering glasses for babies or toddlers, look for plastic frames that have a narrower bridge. Similarly, metal frames will have adjustable nose pads allowing you to shape the bridge of the frame for a more comfortable, secure fit.
There are some glasses for toddlers that wrap around their ears to ensure they stay in place or even have an elasticised band to hold the glasses in place. After all, it’s important to ensure the glasses fit so that the lenses sit in the right place to correct their vision.
When it comes to buying glasses for babies and young children, there are a few helpful products to keep in mind. Crizal lens coatings are the perfect addition to any pair of glasses for many different reasons. Crizal coatings for glasses for babies can add a scratch-resistant layer to the lenses, which is particularly helpful with young children. Similarly, the right lens coating will also protect the lenses from smudges and sticky fingers! This means your toddler’s glasses will be easy to clean and their lenses will stay clearer for longer.
Essilor's guide to children's glasses
From spotting the first signs of an eye condition, to what causes them, all the way through to correcting and managing them.