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- seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your child’s eyes
At Birth and 6 weeks:
Your midwife or GP will examine your baby for the “red reflex”. Babies with a high risk for eye problems including very preterm infants in the newborn unit will be referred to an eye specialist for an assessment.
At the B4 school Check
Your child will be screened for lazy-eye (amblyopia). This is usually done by vision and hearing technicians.
Children who have their vision screened as part of the B4 School Check either ‘pass' the screen or are ‘referred' for a full assessment.
The results of this screening will be sent to you in the mail or will come home with your child. The results will explain how you can have your child further assessed if needed.
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If your child was referred, see the Ministry of Health leaflet Referral for a full vision assessment.
The leaflet is also available in Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Hindi, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
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If your child doesn't have their vision screened for lazy-eye (amblyopia) at four, it's important they have this screening done in their first year at school.
If your child missed their screening, contact your child's school to make sure the vision hearing technician screens your child on their next visit.
This screening does NOT detect all vision problems.
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Consult your family doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s eyes, particularly if:
- one or both pupils have an unusual or white appearance. This may be noticed in photographs
- there is persistent watering or discharge from the eyes
- one eye appears to be turned frequently or the eyes do not seem to move well
- there is extreme sensitivity to light or glare
- the head is consistently tilted / turned to one side
- the child sits close to the television and holds books / puzzles at very close range
- the eyes do not look the same
If your child:
- has learning or reading difficulties
- is clumsier than usual for their age
- screws their eyes up or tilts their head to see, or
- has frequent headaches
... this may mean they have a vision problem.