A Visit to the Ophthalmologist
After registering, you and your child will see an orthoptist. An orthoptist is an expert in assessing children’s vision and the co-ordination of the eyes.
This assessment will include obtaining a detailed history of your concerns, a general medical history (including any allergies), a family history of disease (especially eye disease) and details of any medication your child is taking (prescribed & non-prescribed). Following this, the orthoptist will undertake a thorough assessment of your child’s vision, eye movements and binocular co-ordination. This may also include testing colour vision, visual fields and pupil reactions.
Once this assessment is complete, the orthoptist will instil pupil dilating eye drops into your child’s eyes. These eye drops will enable the ophthalmologist to check the health of the internal structure of the eye and undertake an accurate test for glasses (retinoscopy). These eye drops are safe and apart from some very short lasting stinging, very rarely have any side-effects. The drops take approximately 30 minutes to work. Older children will notice that their vision becomes blurred, especially when looking at objects close to their eyes. This blurring usually lasts about 3 hours. Dilation of the pupils may cause some light sensitivity and last for 24 hours. Sunglasses and avoiding bright sunlight may be helpful if your child is bothered by this. Many children seem to have no difficulty with light sensitivity.
After the dilating eye drops have had time to work (at least 30 minutes) you will see the ophthalmologist. Here, you will discuss your concerns and the history of your child’s eye problems. Following this, the health of your child’s eyes will be determined. This may involve using various instruments to assess the health of the front of the eye and eyelids, the internal structure of the eye and the need for glasses. Infants and younger children will do this sitting on your lap and older children will be seated next to you. Gentle restraint of arms and head may be required in infants for a brief period.
Following this the ophthalmologist will discuss the diagnosis, the need for any further tests and develop a treatment plan with you for your child’s eye condition. If surgery is needed, it is very common for more than one consultation to make sure both you and the ophthalmologist are satisfied that this is the correct way to proceed.
What can I do to prepare for a visit to the ophthalmologist?
Bring a letter of referral from your GP, optometrist or other medical specialist. It is a good idea to bring any other medical reports or materials you believe may be relevant.
An explanation of the information given above at an appropriate level for your child’s understanding will be very helpful for your child.
Sunglasses and a hat may help your child with any glare experienced after the appointment if pupil dilating drops are used.
To save time on the day of your appointment click on the link above (or here) to download a patient registration form along with our Privacy Statement. Please complete this and return via email (at the top of the form) or bring it to your appointment along with your referral (if applicable).
To ensure the smooth running of the practice as well as availability of appointments, we have found it necessary to introduce a cancellation policy. A cancellation fee will be incurred for those who fail to attend their appointments and for those that are cancelled within 24 hours of the appointment. If your child is unwell and a medical certificate is produced, we will be happy to waive the cancellation fee.
How long will it take?
Appointments often take 1- 2 hours, especially if the pupils need to be dilated.
More information of eye health professionals