Child friendly Opticians are worth their weight in gold.

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Over the past three years Kiddiewink 2 has seen pretty much a different optometrist and ophthalmologist at every hospital appointment. Due to the differing rapports he forms with them (some are more child friendly than others), it is some times tricky to know if he is struggling with the test or just playing silly beggars! The care he has received has been fine but the continuity of care has been lacking somewhat! Getting an appointment I can attend has always been tricky too but we have a solution for that now. I wish we could see just a couple of different professionals, rather than a different one each time!

I also wish , now he is nearly five, he could go to our local optometrist ‘Wendy Diddams’; it was Wendy that prescribed both mine glasses , and by the time the hospital referral came through, they had happily been wearing glasses for awhile .We are hopeful that the early detection (8 months) with our youngest Kiddiewink means she will possibly avoid patching.

All my children love going to the opticians -‘Wendy diddams ‘ and all of them react far more positively in the warm and friendly environment, than a sterile unwelcoming environment. The continuity of care is brilliant and they know all of my children well! My eldest gets plenty of attention so she doesn’t feel left out and the sweets are a big hit! My eldest is actually the only one that Wendy tests at the moment due to her age. With her being a child specialist, I just wish the hospital would ‘release’ my children from all but annual checks. It is the frequency of the hospital visits that is draining and surely it would be more cost effective for the NHS for all my kiddiewinks to be checked locally. My kiddiewinks are happier and more relaxed, and the whole experience is a pleasure rather than a stress and hassle.

What I think matters when choosing  an opticians...

  • The more local the better; visits may be frequent with breakages, adjustments, scratches.
  • Find some one who likes and understands about fitting and sizing glasses on kiddiewinks , particularly if you have tiny kiddiewinks!
  • Accept their advice. Yes little johnny might well like the Spider-Man pair, but they might not work for him and his prescription.
  • Go somewhere that you and they feel as relaxed and stress free as possible! 
  • Have the number on speed dial for when the childminder becomes convinced the baby has eaten the lens. (yes that actually happened!

We are so fortunate that we have a wonderful optometrist in the town where I live, Wendy Diddams specialises in children, and all the staff are amazing. Several of my colleagues, travel to my town to have their children tested at Wendy Diddams, and it is a well regarded practice within the local community. They understand what makes my children tick. Sharon, in particular, has a wonderful relationship with my little man. Making her laugh when he tries on the glasses, he knows exactly what he likes, and doesn’t like, and tells her as he sees it.

Nothing is too much trouble, and they are happy to source specific items for us. The prescription goggles we ordered through them are perfect and their knowledge of children’s glasses is vast. A welcoming and cosy waiting room (with sweets), means they are happy and well behaved (usually).

We have been known just to pop in and say hello, although now I am back at work, this happens less frequently, as its often my Mum that pops in for the adjustments. All the staff know her well now too..; The journey into glasses with children, can feel overwhelming at times, things change and change can be tough! Having a child friendly and reliable optometrist, makes the whole journey less daunting. And lets face it, if you are going to be going there frequently, (and you will be), it is much better for all involved if the children feel they matter, rather than simply the next patient/customer.

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Thanks to Starwinkle Photography, for all all these amazing photographs. Lucy is wonderful with kiddiewinks.

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Why bother giving my baby an eye test? They seem fine…

We all have worries about our children, but as a rule many people assume their children’s eyesight is fine.
When I told people KW3 needed glasses, no one could believe it and many still can’t. She looks at people, smiles, follows our pets around, grabs things that interests her, is very content and her eyes seem straight! This however, is a common misconception. Just because you think they are fine, it doesn’t mean they are!

In America all parents are encouraged to get their babies checked sometime after 6 months as problems being caught early can prevent much more serious eye problems later. Granted, they have to pay for this privilege but it is encouraged nonetheless. In the UK we have even stopped the eye screening at the two and a half year check, which I believe is madness and all to cut budgets! Leaving testing them until school is such a shame and leaves so many parents feeling unneccesarily guilty that they had no idea their child’s vision was so bad. Large chains often don’t test until children are three, but some specialist opticians/optometrists are more than happy to test children that don’t talk and they have simple non invasive ways of checking whether their eyesight is a concern.
For KW3, the ‘test’ consisted of looking into little torches, tracking objects, and having different lenses held in front of her eyes while looking at bright flashing objects,  this told the optometrist that her vision was a concern so would need further investigation. KW3 actually enjoyed the test and it cost us nothing, the next test will be slightly more gruelling as she will have to have the drops to dilate the pupils, but that is only done if there seems to be a problem.
We honestly thought we would be leaving the optometrist with a clean bill of eye health, not a referral, but it just goes to show you can never be to sure.
I would encourage everyone to get their little ones tested, whether family history or not, but even more so if family history. What harm can it do, it doesn’t cost a penny and it could make a massive difference to your child’s sight . After all, I hadn’t a clue that my darling babies were very farsighted!

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My Three and Me