Dear Mummy, you’ve been with Specsavers for over 10 years and have always loved their customer service, but recently they have gone above and beyond in your books. Little folk, like me, are now getting the VIP treatment from this high street optician in the form of dedicated kids clinics. Anything that makes me happy and keeps me healthy, makes you happy!
Why children’s eyes deserve the VIP treatment at Specsavers
Mandeep Aujla, director at Specsavers Basingstoke and a mum herself to two children under the age of five says: ‘As a parent, I understand that our child’s health is of paramount importance. We have listened to our customers and will be improving our customer service for families by running a dedicated children’s clinic, one full day of the week on Sundays.’
The kids clinics check toddlers and school aged children’s eye health and sight. My folks have never noticed a problem with my eye-sight or anything that would lead them to be concerned about my eyes, but were intrigued by these FREE kid-friendly sessions and thought it was important to double-check to make sure everything was developing normally. It was also a great chance for me to get used to interacting with medical professionals as it is important for little ones to not be frightened when visiting doctors, dentists or opticians who are there to help.
Why is it important to get kids eyes checked?
Specsavers’ own research in 2014 revealed that one in five children under the age of 12 had never had an eye examination, yet there is good evidence that 15-20% of children have poor vision in one or both eyes. Detecting and managing vision problems while children are still young is key to maximising their education and minimising the chances of an eye or sight defect being carried into adulthood.
The Kids Clinics offer parents the opportunity to book in tests for their children and ask the optician any questions they may have about their little one’s vision. We actually found the sessions really educational and…well….. fun! You see I got to take some tests, use some of the machines and I even enjoyed some sweets and played with some toys in the waiting room! Who’d thought an opticians could be kid friendly?!
When we arrived at the Basingstoke store we were warmly welcomed by friendly staff, who directed their attentions to me, which made me feel very special. My folks answered some questions and my details were loaded onto their systems.
Did you know that children between 0-16 qualify for free eye tests on the NHS?
My folks didn’t. So a trip to the kids clinic doesn’t cost you anything for peace of mind. All you need to do is bring in a birth certificate/ID, you may even qualify for an NHS optical voucher for glasses too!
Mandeep Aujla, director at Specsavers Basingstoke adds: ‘Children’s eyes can be tested at any age and we would recommend a visit before they start school and start learning to read. Also, if you spot any tell-tale signs that indicate some problems with a child’s eye sight such as watching a television at a close distance, holding a book close to the face when reading or looking at the pictures, or even looking cross-eyed, we suggest you pop in and book an appointment. Vision problems can be the reason a child does not perform well at school because they cannot see the board so the earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment.’
My pre-test experience
I was very excited about the pre-test before my full eye examination and a lovely optical assistant took me through to a small room to check my eyes where healthy. You can’t do this by looking someone straight in the eye and have to use a special machine called a Tonometer, which looks for medical conditions related to the eye.
The machine blew a gentle puff of air onto the surface of each of my eyes to measure the internal pressure. This took me quite by surprise and even my mummy flinched but it was totally painless. This allowed the optometrist to assess my risk of developing glaucoma. It can also be used to estimate the degree of long or short sight present. I then had a photograph taken of the back of my eyes using digital retinal photography which helps with spotting any eye problems. This image was saved on my records to help them chart my eye health.
Meeting the friendly optometrist
I then met the optometrist, who had a little chat about my general eye health and lifestyle. She used a retinoscope, to measure my vision. She also asked me to read a test chart through different strength lenses. They had specifically designed kids tests and talked me through the whole process. I was allowed to hop down and sit on my mummy’s lap and took little breaks between the tests to play with my balloon and inspect the furniture. The atmosphere was very relaxed and informal and the optometrist was helpful and engaging.
My optometrist used an ophthalmoscope – a specialist torch that shines brightly into the eye. This examines the retina at the back of the eye, my optic nerve and the retinal blood vessels- to make sure they are healthy. She also used a slit lamp, a powerful microscope, to examine the front surface of the eyes. This checks for abnormalities or scratches on your cornea, iris and lens and helpful for children who often get things in their eyes and prone to damaging them with chunky little fingers and sharp nails. The room got very dark while she was examining me and my mummy was very impressed with how I sat still and took direction from her.
Picking your lenses
After our eye examinations, we were given will be given a copy of our prescription. My folks also had their eyes tested at Specsavers too, so it was a real family affair. Specsavers friendly staff helped my folks choose new frames and advise on the different lens options. My mummy has been on their books for a long time and regularly gets check-ups done. She needed new lenses as her prescription had changed slightly and so did daddy. I on the other hand had no problems with my eye-sight and good eye health. So I patiently watched and waited while they picked out their frames. I couldn’t resist trying some glasses on as they were very stylish!
There were plenty of frames to pick from with prices starting at under £50. My folks were both surprised with the range of designer and fashionable ranges! Daddy picked up some Hilfiger ones while my mummy opted for some retro Love Moschino ones.
The assistant took careful measurements of their faces to make sure their glasses fit correctly. This is done by the use of Specsavers new tablet technology. Staff used Digital Precision Eyecare technology to calculate the important measurements needed to fit the lenses. Then the assistant sent their chosen frames, along with their measurements and lens selections, to the lab, where their glasses will be custom-made for them. A week later my folks returned to collect them and have the frames corrected on their faces.
One offer that caught mummy’s eye (no pun intended) was two free pairs of glasses for child children. All glasses in their kids’ £64 and £85 ranges are FREE with an under-16s’ NHS optical voucher. Specsavers will also give you a second pair from the £64 or £85 ranges, FREE. Both pairs come with single-vision lenses with a scratch-resistant treatment and UV filter or you can choose to have tinted prescription lenses and UV filter free in your second pair. Remember, under-16s get a FREE NHS eye test.
Specsavers also do screenings in schools!
Did you know that Specsavers has teamed up with Thomson Screening to deliver free vision-screening software to every primary and secondary school across the country? They want every child to have the opportunity to learn, unhindered by problems with their eyesight. If a child cannot see the board properly, or the words are blurred when they try to read, they will find it difficult to perform to their full potential. Using the SchoolScreenerEZ software designed to be operated by teachers, it enables them to carry out a three-minute preliminary test of each child’s eyes. Perfect for highlighting any issues that a parent might not pick up.
Good vision and eye health is vital during the school years, make sure you do the best you can to help little ones develop and get the best possible start at school, we are so lucky to have the opportunity for free eye tests and glasses for children in the UK. These kids clinic are a great idea and don’t cost a penny for children, so we’d recommend booking an appointment for peace of mind!
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were invited to Basingstoke Specsavers to try out the kids clinic in order to write an honest review, my folks received complementary glasses.