Time in the Eye Clinic
Please allow between 2 and 3 hours for your appointment in the eye department. The reason for this amount of time is that your child may need to see the Orthoptist first, have eye drops instilled and wait for these to work before seeing the Eye Consultant.
It may be that your appointment finishes much sooner.
Firstly, it may be necessary to see the Orthoptist who will test your child's vision and may check for the presence / absence of squint and the ability to use the eyes together.
When attending the Eye Clinic it is usually necessary to look at the back of your child's eye in order to assess whether he / she needs glasses / change of glasses, and to check the health of the eyes. In order to do this we need to put some dilating drops into their eyes, which make the pupils (black part of the eye) bigger.
The drops do not hurt your child but may sting a little as they are instilled. He / she will need to keep still while we do this.
The nurses are very experienced at putting in eye drops and use different ways of distracting the children, e.g. with toys.
It can take between 30 and 40 minutes for the drops to work and your child's pupils to be dilated (get bigger).
It may be necessary to put more drops in children with dark irises (the coloured part) and the dilating process can take up to 60 minutes.
The Eye Doctor
The eye doctor will examine your child's eyes once the dilating drops (if needed) have fully worked. Occasionally it may be necessary for drops to be taken home and used prior to a further appointment in order to complete the examination.
Returning to School
The eye drops wear off in two stages. Focusing ability usually returns first, in about 2-3 hours, and children will again be able to read. Pupil size will return to normal by at least the next day. Pupils always return to normal and this should not be a cause for concern. Often the pupils are unequal as they return to normal.
Your child may return to school despite the eye drops, and the teacher should be told that he / she will have difficulty reading for a few hours.
Your child may play outside immediately. Light sensitivity is usually not particularly troublesome, but if your child is bothered by the sunlight, sunglasses or a hat with a brim may be helpful.