Eye care professionals

There are different eye care professionals who have varying roles in supporting a child with vision impairment. Here we explain the eye care professional you may come across.

Your family doctor, or GP, can help with the general care of your child. If you have any health concerns you usually see your GP first.

If your GP thinks your child may have a sight problem, they may refer them to an eye clinic where they will be seen by a number of specialists.


Ophthalmologists are hospital consultants who specialise in eye health.

They may do the following:

  • check your child’s eyesight, for example looking at the back of the eye using special instruments
  • treat your child with medicine or surgery, for example eye drops

If your child’s sight condition meets the criteria, they may also give your child a Certificate of Vision Impairment.


Orthoptists work with ophthalmologists in hospital eye clinics. They sometimes also visit schools. They are experts in assessing children’s vision and their eye movements.

They may test your child’s eyes for:

  • sight problems
  • movement disorders
  • how the eyes work together
  • squints
  • lazy eyes


An optometrist can test your child’s sight and may prescribe glasses. They’re also called opthalmic opticians. Optometrists are based in eye clinics, as well as in high street opticians.

If they spot any abnormalities that cannot be resolved with glasses they usually refer your child to an ophthalmologist.


Opticians dispense glasses to correct the focus of your child’s eyes.

RSBC’s Family Support Service can help you with:

  • practical advice about your child’s development
  • support when you feel overwhelmed
  • understanding your child’s vision impairment better
  • living as a family and being supportive of each other

Call 0203 1980225 or email connections@rsbc.org.uk