Eye drops for children’s eye test

print_iconLeaflet number: 402
Expiry date: April 2018


Referral to the optometrist or ophthalmologist

Following your child’s appointment with the orthoptist, it was considered advisable to arrange another appointment to check if spectacles are required and/or to check the health of the eyes.

At this appointment the eyes will be examined by either the hospital optometrist (optician) or ophthalmologist (eye surgeon). In order for the examination to be carried out, it may be necessary to prepare the eyes using eye drops.

The eye drops

Prior to the appointment, eye drops called cyclopentolate hydrochloride are put into both eyes. The drops take about 30 minutes to work and in the case of dark-coloured eyes, a second droplet may be required.

What are the eye drops for?

The drops make the pupils larger and make examining the eye a lot easier.

Your child may notice that their vision becomes blurred and that they may not be able to focus, especially when looking at close objects. Sometimes, there is a temporary sensitivity to light. The blurring effect should wear off after six hours and the pupils usually return to a normal size within 24 hours but this might take longer with pale-coloured eyes.

The test

If drops are used, the tests  involve your child looking towards various lights. To determine whether spectacles are required, the child will be asked to look at a light through different trial spectacle lenses. Another type of light will be used with a magnifying lens to examine the health of the eye. Your child will not be expected to say which lenses are better or worse.

Side effects of the drops

It is very rare to experience any problem with these drops. However, very occasionally a child may demonstrate an allergic reaction. This involves the child becoming hot and flushed, and possibly confused. These effects would occur soon after instilling the drops, do not normally last more than a few hours, and staff would be at hand to help.

Further information

If you have any questions, please contact the Optometry Department on 01271 311714.


Posted in Eye Clinic, Paediatrics (Children's Health), Patient Information Leaflets and tagged , , .

Last updated: May 3, 2016