Pre-School Eye Test

The Pre-school eye test is a screening test to detect reduced vision and squint.

The tests are based on games such as naming pictures or matching letter shapes of various sizes. The optometrist may use eye drops to relax the muscles inside the eye so that the test can be done accurately for glasses.

The majority of defects found are refractive, i.e. glasses are needed.

Other defects found include squint or abnormalities in the structure of the eye (e.g. cataract). The refraction test is an eye exam that measures a person’s ability to see an object at a specific distance.

In many cases the refractive error is worse in one eye than the other and is thus masked by the “good eye”. This makes it difficult for parents to notice the problem. A squint is a condition where the eyes do not look in the same direction. That is, when one eye looks straight ahead the other eye is pointing inwards, outwards, up or down.

A squint is when the eyes do not look in the same direction. Most occur in young children. A child with a squint may stop using the affected eye to see with. This can lead to visual loss called amblyopia which can become permanent unless treated in childhood. Reduced vision in a child can often be treated if it is discovered early enough.  Amblyopia is usually treated by patching the good eye to force the use of the affected eye. Another main aim of treatment is to correct the appearance of the squint. This often requires surgery.

If problems are found through the test, such as glasses are required, a prescription is given to the parent on the day, or children requiring a medical opinion or eye patching for reduced vision are referred to a hospital eye department.