We run an eye-screening service through which every child is offered an eye test during their reception year in school. This service is offered in every primary school in Birmingham, including special schools and religious schools. At this test, the child’s eyes are tested for squints, for the co-ordination between the two eyes and for problems with the vision.
The tests are quick to do and suitable for this age-group.
What happens if there is a problem?
If a problem is found at this test, then the child is referred to the nearest clinic for further testing.
Who will they see?
At the clinic, there is an Orthoptist and an Optometrist. The Orthoptist has trained in the speciality of eye co-ordination problems. He/she tests the function of the eyes and the vision. An Orthoptist is neither a doctor or a nurse, but belongs in the group of professionals called ‘Allied Health Professionals’, which includes Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Dieticians, amongst others. The Optometrist is an Optician. He or she tests the eyes to see if glasses are necessary, and can also check the eyes to ensure they are healthy.
How long are children seen for?
Children attend the clinic to see the Orthoptist and Optometrist until their treatment is complete. The visual system is fully developed by the age of eight, and so treatment has to be completed before then. The vision stays stable after this age, so children are usually discharged from the Paediatric Eye Service by the age of eight. They may be discharged earlier if they can be monitored by an Optician.
What about children with special needs?
Children with special needs who have an eye problem detected through the reception year eye test can be seen at the clinic and may be seen until they are of senior school age, if this is necessary.
We also undertake regular assessment and treatment sessions in Child Development Centres and Special Schools in the Birmingham Community Healthcare area.