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The Community Eye Service cares for children from 0 - 16 years of age with strabismus, lazy eye (amblyopia) and vision defects. If a child/young person has special needs they can be seen until the age of 19 if they remain in education. The team comprises of orthoptists, orthoptic support workers, community ophthalmologists and specialist paediatric optometrists.
The Orthoptic support workers screen the vision of all children attending mainstream lower/primary schools between the age of 4-5 years.
To develop good eyesight, it is important that eye problems are identified and treated at an early age, as defects which may cause squints or strabismus- (where one eye turns in/out), often run in families or are associated with other special needs. The term lazy eye is often used to describe one eye that is not developing good vision, this is also known as Amblyopia.
Following referral, we will offer your child an initial assessment and, together, we will plan your child’s on going eye care. The treatment plan will then be reviewed regularly to improve your child’s eyes as much as possible. After your first visit to see the orthoptist your child will probably have a further appointment to see the ophthalmologist or optometrist. For this next check eye drops may be needed to enlarge the pupils. The ophthalmologist will examine the eyes to ensure they are healthy and prescribe glasses, if required. Each eye is checked to see if it is healthy and to see if your child needs glasses to correct long/short sight or astigmatism, the children’s glasses prescription voucher (HESP) will be issued.
The orthoptist will monitor the child’s eye problem, offering advice and non-surgical treatment, in order to maximise your child’s visual development. Where a child has a condition where the vision cannot be improved the team will work with other professionals to ensure the child visual capabilities are understood. The Community Eye service orthoptists work closely with the ophthalmologists and optometrists in the Community eye Service and at the Moorfields at Bedford Paediatric Eye Clinic.