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Your appointment at the orthoptic department (SCD pathway) at Ryegate Children’s Centre

Ryegate Children’s Centre

Your child has been seen by the neurodisability team at Ryegate as part of the communication clinic or social communication disorders pathway.

As part of that pathway we arrange an eye test and an appointment for you and your child to attend. The eye test will be done by an orthoptist who is a specialist in testing children’s eyes. They will check your child’s vision and find out if the eye muscles are working correctly.

What if my child is already under an eye service?

We have made every effort to avoid duplication by checking our system to make sure you are not already attending Ryegate or Sheffield Children’s eye department. We do not have access to other hospital or optometry practices. If you are already under the care of another department please let us know so we can cancel this appointment and offer it to someone else who is waiting.

Testing your child’s vision

It is important for us to test each eye separately to see if one eye is weaker than the other. A patch or some glasses may be used to cover one eye in order to do this. It would help if you could practice covering each eye in turn as a game before you come.

Your child’s vision is assessed by asking them to name or sign letters and pictures or match letters and pictures on a card or look at pictures or black and white stripes on a card. Other tests will be performed to assess how well the eyes work together. The emphasis is very much on ‘looking games’ rather than eye testing as a lot of information can be gained about a child’s vision by observing them in a play situation.

Examples of vision tests for young children include icons of animals and objects, with different levels of contrast.

Image of an example eye test with images including an apple, a fish and a clock Image of an example eye test of cards with a picture of a fish and a boat Image of example eye test of cards with circles of black and white lines

What happens next?

If your child has an eye problem such as reduced vision, squint or a strong family history of vision issues, the orthoptist will discuss referral to the optometrist or consultant ophthalmologist on a different day either at Ryegate or at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

After your child’s examination

If the orthoptist finds your child’s eyes are normal they will be discharged. It may be necessary to continue to monitor your child’s vision. For example, if no problem was found but testing was incomplete and it is felt that testing at your local optometrist or school entry vision screening would not be possible.


It is very important that children’s eye problems are treated as soon as possible. By the time your child is 7 years old the eyesight is fully developed and sometimes it is too late to treat eyesight problems satisfactorily at this stage.

If you do not attend this appointment without prior notice no further appointment will be sent out.

Contact us

If you have any queries please contact Julia Ennis, Head Orthoptist on 0114 2717616

For appointment changes please contact 0114 2260674 or 0114 2260676

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: EYE54

Resource Type: Article

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