How can you succeed in working with children?

2 August 2023
Summer 2023

A lack of experience can put some optometrists off examining young children’s eyes. Anna Scott asks: how can they feel empowered and confident?

On a single day at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, three children, all two and a half years old, all referred by their GP, attended the eye clinic. Dr Jane Macnaughton FCOptom, a specialist optometrist, posted on LinkedIn later that day: “Each [parent] reported a classic onset of an esotropia when their children were tired or unwell. Each had been to one of a number of local optometrists to book a first eye examination for their child, only to be told that they could not be seen until the child was over three years of age or, worse, when they could read their letters.”

Talking to Acuity, Jane, who is also Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, says: “Just because a young child is unable to read letters does not mean that they cannot be tested. To turn children away on that basis is unreasonable. What is perhaps not realised is that the waiting time to be seen by our joint orthoptics and optometry-run clinics can be several months. 

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