You should make sure your child’s eyes are tested if:

  • Your child has special needs – children with special need often have eye problems
  • There is a history of squint or lazy eye in your child’s family
  • People in the family needed to wear glasses when they were young

Signs to look out for:

  • One eye turns in or out – this may be easier to spot when the child is tired
  • They rub their eyes a lot (except when they are tired, this is normal)
  • They have watery eyes
  • They are clumsy or have poor hand and eye coordination
  • Your child avoids reading, writing or drawing
  • They screw up their eyes or frown when they read or watch TV
  • They sit very close to the TV, or hold books or objects close to their face
  • They have behaviour or concentration problems at school
  • They don’t do as well as they should at school
  • They complain about blurred or double vision or they have unexplained headaches

Flash Photographs

If flash photographs of your child show a white, yellow or orange colour in their pupils, or red eye in only one eye, not both, you should ask your optometrist for more information. These could be signs of a very rare but serious condition.

Eye tests for under 16s

The NHS pays for sight tests for children under 16 years old, and those aged 16 to 18 in full-time education. If your child needs glasses, the NHS will give you a voucher, which may cover the full cost of glasses, or you can put it towards the cost if you want more expensive glasses. You can take the voucher to any dispensing optician (person who sells prescription glasses).

Children under 16 can only have their glasses dispensed by a registered optometrist, dispensing optician, or doctor. You can check if your optometrist or dispensing optician is registered on