Pre-school vision screening should not negate the need for a comprehensive pre-school eye examination.
In Scotland, we are fortunate that all children receive a Pre-School Orthoptic Vision Screening (POVS) the year before starting school. These are helpful tests promoting early detection of vision problems in children, including a sight test (a test of how well your child can see), as well as identifying issues like a squint or a lazy eye. However, they do not replace the need for a full eye examination with an optometrist.
Here is what you can expect from a comprehensive eye examination (which is entirely free-of-charge):
- Medical history – a review of medical history, including a full family history as many eye conditions are genetic e.g. short-sightedness (myopia).
- Pre-screening – involving a series of tests using the highest standard of equipment, most importantly generating an image of the inside of the eye using advanced technology such as the Optos Daytona scanner.
- Visual acuity – testing vision at distance and close up, using letters or pictures depending on the age of the child.
- Refraction – measurement of prescription including specific tests for long and short sightedness as well as measuring any astigmatism.
- Binocular vision assessment – various tests and measures to see how eyes are working together and to check the prescription is balanced. Includes a range of fun tests.
- Slit lamp – microscopic exam of lids/lashes/cornea and front surface and chamber of the eye.
- Colour vision – to check for any colour deficiency (colour blindness) by looking at pictures in a book.
- Summary of findings – discussing all findings with both the child and their parents/carer. Explaining points and summarising at the end the main findings and recommendations. Allowing plenty of time to ask questions.
A thorough eye examination checks for vision, eye health and can also pick up several indicators where there might be a wider health issue apparent through these in-depth tests, making it all the more worthwhile.
So, if your child had their eye test at pre-school, firstly we hope all was fine, but please also ensure that they have a comprehensive eye examination at least every two years from around age four. It is free and at Cameron Optometry we provide the most thorough assessment available by an award-winning team of optometrists all of whom have extensive expertise in dealing with the most complex eye conditions, so your child will be in safe hands.