Your child’s vision and hearing

Is your child in Reception or Year 1? Have they had their eyes and hearing tested?

Children usually have hearing and vision tests in Reception year of school. However, for some children this was interrupted by Covid-19. To help you care for your child’s hearing and vision needs while we are waiting to restart vision and hearing screening here are some things to consider. The information on this page is available to download as a PDF here. 

Taking care of vision

What are the signs of possible eye problems?

  • sitting too close to the TV or always wanting to watch TV in the dark
  • rubbing eyes a lot
  • holding objects very close to the face blinking a lot
  • eyes not looking in the same direction (squint)
  • getting headaches
  • struggling with hand eye co-ordination
  • e.g. being more clumsy than usual

To help identify whether you might want to seek help check what happens when you cover one eye at a time:

  • Look at a street sign in the distance (about 3 meters away) cover one eye. Can they still see the letters clearly?
  • Now check the other eye. What happens when you cover that eye?
  • If your child already has glasses keep them on

If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your child’s eyes or vision speak to your GP or you can book an eye test with your local optician. Opticians are still open and eye tests are free for children under 16.

Taking care of hearing

What are the signs of possible hearing problems?

  • watching TV at a loud volume
  • talking loudly
  • not responding when called poor concentration
  • not being able to tell where a sound is coming from
  • mispronouncing words
  • a slow down of their progress at school

If you are worried speak to your GP.

Can it wait until they are older?

Children with hearing or vision issues can face difficulties with their learning and development. This can be very frustrating and upsetting for the child. Once a problem is identified, you can get treatment and support for your child’s development and education, which will help them to achieve their best.

Children can have hearing and vision checks at any age, they don’t need to be able to read.

Vision tests

The vision check looks out for conditions like lazy eye (amblyopia). About 1 in 50 children develop a lazy eye but it is easy to miss without an eye test.

If you have a family history of childhood eye problems it’s important for your child to have their eyesight checked.

To book a vision test find an optician and book a free appointment.

Hearing tests

Your child’s hearing can be checked at any other time if you have any concerns. Speak to a GP or health visitor if you are worried about your child’s hearing.

Find out about more about NHS hearing tests

Top tips for looking after your children’s eyesight

  • Get screens in the right position, have your screen at eye level
  • Don’t sit too close to screens, have them about an arms-length away
  • Take regular breaks from staring at the screen
  • Try to get as much time playing outdoors as possible
  • Try not to watch films on a small screen e.g. a phone, staring at a small screen for a long time can strain your eyes
  • Don’t watch screens in a dark room
  • If you have concerns go to the optician, talk to your GP or talk to your school nursing team – they are there to help

 With thanks to Connecting Care for Children for sharing this information. 

UPDATED: 26/03/2021