Children's vision development is part of CapitalEyes kids eyecare.
If your child needs glasses, we are the experts. Contact lenses for kids are also an option.
We can also help with available Government Subsides.
Childrens vision development
From when they are born, through to around age 8, a child’s vision is constantly developing. We recommend all children have their first eye exam around age 3 or 4 years. This pre-school eye examination is important as we check to make sure their vision development is appropriate for their age.
Our NZ “B4 school” health check does include a brief vision screening, but it is only checking for basic clarity of distance vision. There is a lot more to vision development than just reading a letter chart.
More than 80% of the information children receive about the world comes from their eyes, so good vision is key to learning. To ensure they are getting the most from their education, we need to have children with excellent vision.
CapitalEyes kids eyecare
Of course kids don’t sit still in a chair and concentrate like adults do, so we tailor the consultation to the child. We make sure it is fun! Often we have children who we have seen before asking if they can do specific tests again, and a ride in the chair is also fun.
We have a pre-school consultation for children under 6,for which we allow half an hour. Sometimes further testing is required but the child’s attention has usually waned after thirty minutes, so if necessary we see them again on another day.
For children from age 6, we have a student consultation which assesses their vision clarity and also their visual skills required for reading and success in the classroom. Parents are often amazed at how many vision tests their child can do!
We generally find that children seem to concentrate the best in the morning, so are best seen earlier in the day. However parents will know what will work best for their visit with us.
What if your child needs glasses?
As optometrists, we don’t make the recommendation lightly for glasses for children - those with higher prescriptions will require glasses. Wearing glasses does not make their vision dependent, rather it enables the child’s vision to develop fully. In turn, this means they can see more clearly and comfortably.
Some children may be found to have vision development isn’t quite at the level expected for their age. Our optometrist may monitor their vision development, and if their vision development plateaus, then the recommendation may be made for glasses.
If your child is myopic, the likelihood is that it will progress as they grow. For some children this is a slow rate of progression, while others have rapid vision changes.
The treatments which the research has shown to slow myopia progression include assessment of near binocular alignment which may benefit from glasses for close work. Also use of weak atropine eye drops used nightly, or contact lenses specially developed with advanced optics in soft daily disposables.
We recommend all children with myopic parents be examined before the age of 6, to establish risks for further vision changes. These are individual approaches and we are happy to discuss these further with you.
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Is there a subsidy?
For families with a Community Service Card or children with a High Health user card there is a “Spectacle Subsidy” for children up to the age of 15. This subsidy can help cover the examination costs and towards glasses. Our staff can assist with the claim forms for this subsidy. We can also provide quotes for WINZ if required. Unfortunately, primary eye care is not covered by a Government subsidy.
Can kids wear contacts?
Yes. If the child is keen for contacts, then so are we. They are great for active kids – from rugby to dancing, there are times when it just doesn’t work to wear your glasses. We teach the kids all they need to know to be able to handle their own contacts – with Mum or Dad alongside. We don’t set an age, but rather, if the parents think the kids are able, and responsible, then they usually are great with contacts.