Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked the following questions a lot. If you would like to know more, just ask your orthoptist at your next appointment.

Why does my child need to get eye drops when we go to the eye clinic?

Drops are used to dilate the pupils in order to accurately examine the inside of the eye (the fundus) and measure the child for glasses. These drops, usually Cyclopentalate, relax the eye muscle that constricts the pupil and focusses the lens.

The drops do sting slightly for several seconds, and the pupils remain dilated for several hours in the case of Cyclopentalate. This causes sensitivity to bright light, and vision to be slightly blurry.

What's a refraction?

This is the term used to describe a glasses test. In the case of children, it is usually done on the first visit to the eye clinic and at least once per year after that.

What's a fundus check?

The fundus of the eye is the interior surface, including the retina, optic disc, fovea and macula. Having a fundus check is a vital aspect of any comprehensive eye examination.

Fundus photography can be used to help diagnose and monitor certain eye conditions, as shown here:




How is it possible to tell if a small child needs glasses?

When the pupils are dilated, an instrument called a retinoscope is used to accurately measure a refractive error. This can be done even in babies.

Why can't my child have an operation for their lazy eye?

The first step in treating a lazy eye depends on the cause. In many cases, the cause is a need for glasses. After glasses are prescribed, patching treatment may be necessary to improve the sight.

Surgery is sometimes performed in squints, but, although this will straighten the eye, it will not improve the sight, and if glasses are needed and not worn, surgery may not be successful.