When you have a baby, the health check side of things are quite straightforward. You get notifications from your health authority when you need to make appointments. With the dentist, you just take them once their teeth come through, and the dentist prompts it when you go yourself.
Then school happens and generally health checks transfer to blanket year group appointments at the school. Reception meant weight check and eye tests, then year 1 to 3 is flu spray time. Anything else you rely on recognising that there might be an issue. But the main check they need is an eye test.
I go every 2 years because I work on computers day in and day out, and my company pays. But N had his eye test at school in reception and it was fine. So I had no idea how frequently his eyes should be checked compared with mine.
Last week, he made comments about not being able to read his spellings. They were too small, although no smaller than his reading books, just in an italic font. His teacher also mentioned the same, that N had said several times that he couldn’t read them. He’d also noticed N struggling to read the board. N scorned his when I asked him so I wasn’t sure if that was right or not.
It was time to get his eyes tested in case something had changed in the last 6 or 7 months. Of course this was easier said than done because my usual opticians had no appointments for 3 weeks. I didn’t want N to struggle if it turned out he did need glasses.
Thankfully Boots Opticians had an appointment. I’m not as keen on them as other places because they don’t do the puff test or take photos of the eye, but for a quick test the next day for a child who wouldn’t need these extra tests, I was happy to book N in.
I prepped N beforehand, warning him that he would need to answer the questions, and tried to explain what ‘blurry’ meant. N was really looking forward to his appointment. I think it helped that his best friend and another boy in his class have glasses.
Luckily his optician wasn’t the guy with the huge beard – I remembered my first test having the optician’s fringe tickling me as the light was shined in my eyes.
Despite them running 20 minutes late and us being near the end of the day, N was a star. He got straight in the chair and did everything asked of him. The funniest bits were when he decided to shortcut when tracing the orange line in the colourblind check. Then following the light with his eyes, he was moving his head before he grasped just moving his eyes.
As a parent watching I was on tenterhooks, wondering the results. It’s strange watching someone else doing the test and comparing how they do compared with your own tests. As someone with 20/20 vision, I want N to have the same perfect vision, and not have to struggle with reading which he already finds hard work.
The optician told us he had really healthy eyes, and strong eye muscles. Unfortunately he also has a mild astigmatism (I blame my side of the family), but has no need for glasses. Phew. And we just need to go back in 6 months to keep an eye out for any changes. Of course he finished off by getting a sticker for doing well through his test.
What he’ll now be disappointed with, is that he’s got no excuse telling me that he can’t read something small. The optician was surprised at him saying he struggled, because on the board he was given he could read letters and words in the smallest font. Maybe his spellings are just an issue because they’re italic.
I mentioned that his eyes were fine to his teacher and he said he’d keep a watch out for times when N is saying he can’t read things. And he’ll sit him nearer the board. Given that N managed to read his spellings straight after the eye test with no problems, maybe N was just tricking us!
Have your children got regular eye tests? How do they find them?