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Professional Resources

Concerns about your child's eyesight

There are a number of common eyesight problems that can lead to child struggling educationally such as having long sightedness, short sightedness, astigmatism and squints. All of these can be helped by having regular eye tests.

If you have concerns about your child’s vision you should visit an optician before making a referral to the service unless your child has a diagnosed visual impairment.

Getting your child’s eyesight checked

Regular eye tests will help to keep your child’s eyes healthy. Routine screening is no longer carried out in local schools if you have any concerns about your child’s vision you will need to take your child to an NHS optician to check their eyesight.

NHS eye checks are free for:

  • children under 16 years old
  • young people under 19 years old who are in full-time education


If your child’s eyesight can be improved with glasses, the optician will give you:

  • a prescription
  • an NHS form to apply for help towards the cost of the glasses

Serious eyesight problems

If your child has a problem with their eyesight that can’t be improved with glasses, the optician will either:

  • tell you to take your child to your doctor (GP)
  • refer your child to a specialist eye clinic – usually in a hospital

Visual impairment

If your child has been diagnosed with a visual impairment and would like to know more about how they can get extra help with education or have concerns about their progress, you can:

  • talk to your child’s teacher or head teacher
  • talk to the Specialist Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at their school (every school and nursery has a SENCO)
  • contact the Vision Support Team and make a referral via the Specialist Teaching Service on 0116 305 9400 or 

Your child may also be referred to the Specialist Teaching Service, Vision Support Team by their:

  • Parents
  • doctor (GP)
  • Public Health  nurse
  • health visitor
  • paediatrician or ophthalmologist
  • Other agency

They’ll contact us if:

  • they know your child has a visual impairment
  • your child isn’t progressing at nursery or school and they think it could be because of sight problems.
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