If you have concerns about your child’s vision, visit an optometrist or talk to your child’s doctor or maternal and child health nurse. It’s important to identify a vision impairment early so that your child can get support and treatment.
Your optometrist, doctor or paediatrician can refer your child to a children’s eye specialist – a paediatric ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will be able to test for a vision impairment.
Children should have two vision tests in early childhood. This includes:
- shortly after birth while they’re still in hospital
- when they’re three and a half years old.
These are called the Melbourne Initial Screening Tests. Your child’s maternal and child health nurse will do these tests.
It’s important to test your child’s vision at three and a half years old because the signs of a vision impairment are not always obvious.
Most children of this age are able to perform the vision screening test. If you have concerns about your child’s vision or they do not respond well to the vision test, your maternal and child health nurse may refer your child for further assessment.
Glasses for Kids Program
Prep to Year 3 students at participating schools can get a free vision screening with the Department of Education and Training’s Glasses for Kids program.
The program also provides follow-up eye testing and glasses, if needed.
Visiting Primary School Nursing Program
Your child may get a free distance vision test as part of the Visiting Primary School Nursing Program.
A nurse may assess your child’s vision if:
- your child has not had a three and a half year old maternal and child health check
- your child’s vision has not previously been checked by an optometrist
- you raise concerns about your child’s vision on their School Entrant Health Questionnaire
- a teacher raises concerns about your child’s vision
- the nurse has concerns about your child’s vision when they do their health assessment.
A nurse will not assess your child’s vision if they’re already seeing an optometrist or have a diagnosed vision impairment.
Primary school nurses will visit your child’s school annually. For any questions about the Primary School Nurse Program, ask staff at your child’s school.
Our Education Vision Assessment Clinic (EVAC) identifies children who have significant vision loss, determines their eligibility for our services, and recommends appropriate supports for them at school.
Find out more about eligibility for our services.
Find out more information about our Education Vision Assessment Clinic.