As parents are planning their children's return to school, its also important to make sure that every child has good vision. Many vision problems begin at an early age and children don't always communicate if they are having difficulty seeing. According to the Eyecare Trust, upto 1 million children in the UK currently have an undetected vision problem which can have a major impact on the child's education and life. Over 90% of children visit a dentist regularly whilst only 53% of children have ever had an eye examination.


We are proud at Ellis Bass to have one of the only 'optometrist led' children's eye clinics in Barkingside. Our resident optometrist, Elyshah ('Elly'), has a keen interest in childrens eyecare and holds a regular children's only clinic. The clinic is reserved specifically for children's eye examination appointments. There is no minimum age limit and Elly often sees babies in the clinic as well as older children. Having a young family herself, Elly is experienced in making the eye examination fun - for both the children and the parents!! Eye examinations can be nerve racking for all and we aim to reassure you and put your mind at rest as much as we can.

Many parents still assume that their child will have their vision checked at school, regardless of whether this actually happens or not. Vision screening provision is patchy - many areas do not provide it. Even where vision screening is provided in school, there are many conditions which, although may cause significant problems to a child and their ability to learn, will not be picked up at screening. The sooner that vision problems are detected, the better the outcome. Many childhood conditions, such as lazy eye and squint, can be treated if they are picked up early - as the eye and visual system are actively developing during the school years. If vision problems are identified and treated, it can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.


Sight tests are free for all children under the age of 16. 


Don't worry if your child does not know their letters, there are many different ways to check their eyesight and we can show them pictures and videos to assess their vision. Click here for our FAQ's regarding children's eye examination

"The link between learning and eyesight is compelling. Regular eye exams that include a thorough assessment of the retina are crucial for children of all ages, particularly before the child starts school, as poor eyesight can affect a child's educational performance and social development" stated Elyshah Bashir, our Children's Optometrist.




Q: How old does a child have to be before he or she can have an eye examination?

A: Any age really. A child’s eyes have finished developing by the time they are about eight years old. Many health authorities screen children in their area at around three years of age, but if you are concerned, or if there are any members of your family with eye problems, then it’s best to have your child’s eyes tested.

Q: What is available under the NHS?

A: Under the NHS an eye examination is available without charge for all children up to the age of 16, and under 19 if they are in full-time education. As an indication of the importance of children's sight care, only a qualified practitioner - an optometrist or dispensing optician registered with the General Optical Council, or a registered medical practitioner - is permitted by law to supply children's spectacles.All our staff who supply children's spectacles are qualified to do so. Following an eye examination, parents are entitled to a voucher towards the cost of any glasses or contact lenses prescribed. The value of the voucher will be determined by the prescription needed


Q: What if your child needs glasses?

A: If the time comes when a child needs to wear glasses, this need not be seen as a disadvantage. The wide variety of spectacle frames now available for children are comfortable and practical as well as stylish. They are well designed and attractive, with features such as adjustable nose pads and saddle bridges for small, unformed noses, and spring hinges for durability and comfort. Plastic lenses are recommended for children, being lighter and safer than glass, and these can be treated with anti-scratch coatings for durability. We are proud to have a large selection of children's frames and sunglasses, some of which are completely free under the NHS voucher system (see above 'What is available under the NHS)


Q: Can children wear contact lenses?

Absolutely! In fact our youngest contact lens wearer started at age 6! Parents must be aware of the high level of care required to keep their lenses clean and safe, as well as the need for frequent check-ups to keep their eyes healthy.We will normally consider each child on their own merit with regards to their suitability to contact lens wear. Our Night Lens range are particularly suitable for children as lenses are only worn at home under parents supervision. They are also great to help slow down short sight. CLICK HERE for more information about our night lenses. CLICK HERE to find out more about children and short sight


Q: Why does my child need to go to an Optometrist when they have their eyes checked at school?


A: Although some children are checked at school, it is not a full eye test. Their distance vision is normally checked but this will not detect all levels of long-sight. Short sight and large squints may be detected, but the school checks are not usually carried out by an eye care professional. For a full Eye test you should take your child to a registered Optometrist. If left undetected for too long, some sight defects cannot be corrected


Q: What should I watch out for as a parent?


A:Your child should have an eye examination if they show any of the symptoms below if your child is under 16 the eye test is FREE


  • Gets frustrated when reading

  • Closes or covers one eye

  • Poor handwriting

  • Screws up eyes or frowns to see

  • Rubs eyes and blinks a lot

  • Finds it difficult to copy words from the blackboard

  • Complains that things are blurry or hard to see

  • Short attention span; gazes out of the window

  • Frequently looses place when reading

  • Skips words or whole lines of text


Q: Do you sell children's glasses?


A:Yes, we stock a number of ranges that include adidas, whiz kids and many more.

Q: How Much Does A Children's Eye Examination Cost?


All children under the age of 16 are entitled to a free eye examination, paid for by the NHS


Q: How Often Does My Child Need To Have Their Eyes Tested?


A: Children under 16 are advised to have an eye examination every 12 months. If your child wears spectacles,or has a history of eye problems, they may be needed to be seen more frequently.