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Young children often can not tell us if they are struggling with their eyesight. Visual problems can affect their development and learning. So its important that any problems with their eyesight are identified early so they can get any treatment and support they might need.



There are however some signs that you can look out for in your baby and your growing child that will reassure you and help you understand more about how they see and when to ask for extra help.

All children have their vision checked when they are in the first year of primary school.


  • During the first two months your babies vision will become clearer and they will start to tell the difference between different shades. As time passes your baby will start to prefer brighter colours and more detailed patterns and shapes.

    Things to look out for;

    • Does your baby open their eyes and look at you?
    • Do they look when you move your head side to side?
    • Does your baby seem to have a “turn” in their eye?
    • Think if anyone in the family had serious eye disease in childhood or a “turn” (squint)
    • Have you noticed anything unusual about your babies eyes?

    If you are worried about your child's eyesight contact your GP or call Just One Number. 

  • At around 12 months your baby will be able to tell the difference between near and far. They will be able to recognise people they know approaching from a distance

    Things to look out for;

    • Do they have difficulty seeing small objects?
    • Do they seem to have any difficulty seeing, such as the television, recognising you across the room, bumping in to things or seeming clumsy?
    • Losing interest in looking at things quickly?

    If you are worried about your child's eyesight contact your GP or call Just One Number. 

  • By the time your child is 8 years old their eye sight should be fully developed.

    Things to look out for;

    • Sitting close to the TV.
    • Holding objects very close to their face.
    • Blinking a lot.
    • Eye rubbing, sore looking and complaining of sore eyes.
    • One eye turning in or out.

    If you are worried about your child's eyesight contact your GP or call Just One Number.

  • A close-up of a baby's face showing the characteristic white reflection in the pupil of the eyeIf you notice an opaque or white reflection in the pupil or a change in the colour of their iris or that a red eye reflection is missing or dulled in one eye in a photograph, see your GP as soon as possible. Usually this is to do with the angle of the camera and is nothing to worry about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a problem behind the eye.

    If you are worried about your child's eyesight contact your GP or call Just One Number.


  • Your child will be offered a vision test once they are school age, as part of their routine school entry check. Usually, the test will happen at school and only takes a few minutes.

    For more Information on routine testing, *click here*

    If a problem is identified your child will be referred for follow up.

Who Can Help?

If you are worried about your child’s vision you can take them to an optician for further investigation. Children do not have to be able to read letters to have their eyes examined. If you are worried about your babies vision, speak with your GP. You can also contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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