Kids & Eye Tests

© Maria Foy | Happy Mum Happy Child

Kids & Eye Tests

If you don’t think kids need their eyes tested, then think again. One in five New Zealand children spend up to 35 hours a week staring at a screen – that’s the equivalent of a full time job. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!

To be honest, before I started on this eye-testing journey, I had no idea of that statistic. However, given the fact that our kids use devices so much more than I did as a kid, it kind of makes sense.

Most of you will know this, but some don’t: my eyesight isn’t great. I’m long-sighted and have been tagged as potentially getting glaucoma in future. So I have had a hole lasered into each of my eyes to ensure glaucoma doesn’t occur earlier in life than necessary.

I get my eyes tested every single year, and when I worked in an office was always advised about taking a break from the computer screen; regardless of my vision.

Specsavers have this amazing initiative whereby kids under 16, in New Zealand, get their eyes tested for free. All you have to do is make the booking, and you’ll be looked after by a professional; I am truly grateful for this.

You do not need to have a Community Services Card for this – this is available to everyone.

Recent studies from Specsavers shows that 45% of children in NZ aged between 1-16 have never had an eye exam. If your child’s eyes are tested before the age of eight, then there is a higher chance any long term eye issues can be cured.

So I bit the bullet and took two kids in; alone. One is 5 years old, the other is 3. I pretty quickly figured out what did and didn’t work, so here are some tips from me to you on how to survive a visit to Specsavers:


1. Lay the groundwork:
Tell your kids earlier in the day how awesome it is that you’re going to get your eyes checked. I honestly was able to say that “I have had this done before and it is so much fun”.

2. Bribe
There is nothing wrong with a “lets get through this together and you can have a treat afterwards”. I promised my kids and ice-cream and for the most part it worked.

3. More reassurance
Keep reassuring your kids about how fun it’s going to be to get their eyes tested. Nothing hurts, it’s a simple “look at this” test which anyone can do. You may even have to sit with them on the chair if they are still a bit afraid – nothing wrong with that!

4. Distraction
If you have more than one child, then the other child might need to be entertained. The time it takes to do an eye test is at least 10-15 minutes, and in kid time that’s like 10 years. So always be prepared: a colouring in book, a book to read, or even a small toy. I didn’t have any of those things, and it was a little harder – but I did survive!

Here’s our Snapchat video of our time at Specsavers!


Getting your kids’ eyes tested is NOT something to be afraid of. There is nothing which will hurt your child. The only thing is they might struggle with is sitting still and actually having their eyes photographed.

If you have a child under 5 and they can’t read letters or numbers then don’t worry – they have images that they can bring up for your child. This is how we got Ronan’s eyes tested (he’s 3).

At the end of my kids’ eye test, we found out that Chloe is slightly short-sighted, and Ronan has 20/20 vision.

For Chloe this means no glasses – the amount that she is short-sighted isn’t enough to warrant glasses, but it does mean we need to get her off devices and outdoors more often.

Specsavers have a 30 minute rule: 30 minutes of device time and then take a break. Get your kids to look up from their device / television every 30 minutes to help them give their eyes a break. Also, Chloe has been advised to get outside more. Not because she spends too much time on devices, but because being outdoors means she’s not focussing too much on the screen.

Children should really have their eyes tested every 2 years – and it doesn’t matter how old (or young) they are. The folks at Specsavers really have it all covered and I truly do highly recommend making a booking.

It’s painless; it’s beneficial; and it’s FREE.

Also quick note: if your child is under 5, they don’t have to know their alphabet or numbers! The optometrist has pictures that they can identify instead!

Make your booking now at your local Specsavers branch!


YES this post is sponsored. However I completely and utterly back the Specsavers initiative 100%. All words and opinions are my own.

Thank you VERY much for reading.

I would truly appreciate if everyone could share this message as a lot of people I have spoken to have no idea you can get kids eyes tested for free.

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