Your child will first be seen by an orthoptist who is an expert in assessing what children can see and whether they are using their eyes together. Afterwards, eyes drops will be put in to make the pupils dilate (get bigger) and relax the focusing muscles of the eyes. These drops take at least 40 minutes to work and prepare the eyes for the next part of the appointment called refraction. Refraction uses lights and lenses to measure the optics of the eye so that correct glasses can be prescribed. This is usually done by the optician (optometrist) but may be done by the consultant. Finally the doctor will examine the eyes front to back, make a diagnosis and discuss the treatment options with the parents. Your child may be given eye drops or a glasses prescription, an operation may be recommended or we may be able to reassure you that no eye treatment is needed.
The effect of the drops lasts for 3-4 hours so it is advisable to bring some sunglasses for your child to wear when they leave, as they will find the bright sunshine slightly uncomfortable. Your child may have trouble focusing on near work until the drops wear off – if the child is returning to school the teacher should be informed.