Optometric examination of children - child's play

This article aims to acquaint reluctant practitioners with the theoretical knowledge they need to examine children aged 6 years or less.

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Introduction 

Examining preschool children can be a very rewarding aspect of optometry and can add variety to the community optometrist’s working day. Despite this, many practices will not assess children until they have reached a certain age, perhaps due to lack of suitable tests for this age group in a community optometric practice or a perception that testing young children is more diffi cult or time consuming. A telephone survey of optometric practice in the UK found that the mean age at which a child could be examined was 3.1 years and 2% of practices would not conduct an eye examination on a child less than 7 years of age (Shah et al. 2007). Slightly more encouraging results were reported by the College of Optometrists, who posted questionnaires to all of its members about their clinical practice in 2007. One of their fi ndings was that only 2% of optometric practitioners would not examine a child aged less than 5 years (College of Optometrists 2007).

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