Eye Checks in Under 5’s

A little twitch. A blink here and there. A cheeky squint.

Was Harry struggling with his eyesight or just an over-indulgence in all the screens over lockdown?

You never can be too sure with these things. I can hand on heart say, that TV watching has exponentially increased since we’ve been barricaded in to our homes for fear of COVID. But I couldn’t help noticing that when in front of a screen, his left eye did a twitchy thing.

A quick call to Vision Express left me feeling a little stupid. They don’t do eye tests on under 5’s as of course he won’t be able to tell an R from a P no matter what the distance. Maybe I should’ve hothoused him in to a thorough recognition of the 26 letters of the alphabet so he could ace his first test… an eye test. Alas, they couldn’t help and suggested talking with my doctor.

Fortuitously, a chat about Mr Twitch with the GP (over a suspect mole of mine) and he suggested we get a referral in. And here is my sage geriatric mum advice – just get it checked. The oracle that is google suggested it may well just be a habit he grows out of, but better to know for sure than risk leaving it.

An appointment came through for a couple of months time at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. This gave me some time to monitor it and despite the fact it became less pronounced I still kept the appointment.

In the dark

This is not a figurative description of his eye issues, more my decision not to tell him where we were going. I’ve shared before that we were off for jabs to ‘prepare him’ but it only served to stress my little man out. So we rocked up at the hospital with my mum in tow and him in the dark. Granny Mo was promptly kicked out! Why did I naively think that the covid rules about one accompanying adult would not apply? Then I clocked the sign that informed us “your wait WILL be up to THREE hours.”

We packed G-Mo off to Costa and bedded in with the iPad and snacks. It’s worth noting that the tests involve eye drops that need time to dilate pupils so ready yourself for a long wait.

We first saw the ophthalmologist that tested his general vision in both eyes using a range of picture boards. This involved some funky sunglasses with one side blacked out and a little torch. Nothing was intimidating and it was a speedy process where Harry loved the challenge. He did better on the magic eye style pictures than I would!

Next step was getting eye drops in. This didn’t go down so well. They were a little stingy and I had a writhing, wailing child to hold down. They make vision a little blurry for a few hours so worth planning a relaxed afternoon. And all the treats.

We hung about for half an hour whilst the drops did their job, enabling the next specialist to check out the back of the eye.

I was so impressed at how child friendly he made the frankly sci-fi head gear. More torches. A few different lenses to peer in. And then because he did so well with the head torch we graduated to the closer examination with the ‘big boy’ equipment.

All was fine. Good eye muscle strength. Good alignment. Good response. It felt like his first big test and he passed with flying colours.

After an ok with the consultant we were discharged and hunting down the Grandma, and a well earned gingerbread man, after just an hour and a half.

Eye Eye

Some might think I was being a little OTT but to me, I’d rather be over cautious and get these things checked. Undiagnosed issues could prove problematic with starting school. I want him to have the best possible access and now I can rest easy that he’s just picked up a little habit that will work it’s way out now we are no longer so house bound!


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