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NHS eye screenings and tests for children


Have you registered your child/children with an optician?

Are you worried about cost?


NHS sight tests are free for children under the age of 16.

Also if you are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education.



Children may not always know that they have a vision problem.  It is therefore recommended that children have regular eye tests.  These should be carried out at least once every two years, even if there are no problems with their eyesight.  These tests can be done at a high street opticians and are free for all children under 16 years old (and those under 19 years old in full-time education). You can speak to your child’s Optician if you have any concerns about your their vision.


The opportunity to discuss any health issues relating to your child is always available and the School Health and Wellbeing Service can be contacted on 03300 245 204.



(The below information has been taken from the NHS website)


Children don’t have to be able to read to have their eyes examined. It is possible to tell whether a child has a squint or needs glasses without asking them any questions using age-appropriate tests and equipment.

Your child would have had an eye screening test at birth and again about 6 weeks of age by a GP or health visitor.

Then children are offered a screening test to look for reduced vision in one or both eyes during their first year at school.

Problems can occur at any age, either before a child reaches school age or after a normal screening test at school.


Signs a child has a problem with their sight include:

  • sitting too close to the TV or insisting on watching TV in the dark

  • rubbing their eyes a lot

  • holding objects very close to their face

  • blinking a lot

  • problems moving around in the dark, such as when entering a tunnel or at the cinema

  • showing signs of a squint – where the eyes don't look in the same direction; one eye may turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards, while the other eye looks forward


Even if your child doesn't show any of the above signs, they could still have an underlying eye condition.

If you're worried about your child's sight or there's a history of squint or lazy eye in the family, take your child to an ophthalmic practitioner or an optometrist.




These specialists can be found in high street opticians or community eye centres. They'll see children of any age for an NHS sight test.