Notice regarding the Children's Eye Service during COVID-19
The children’s eye service is continuing to see patients face to face. Our sites are COVID-19 secure, equipment is cleaned between patients and clinicians will be in PPE. Only one parent/carer can attend the appointment with the patient; no siblings are to attend. Children over 3 are requested to wear a mask.
All patients and accompanying families will be asked to take their temperature before they leave home for the appointment. If it is 37.8 degrees celsius or above, please ring 01923 470680 option 2 and rearrange the appointment. If your temperature is less than this, it is safe to proceed to the appointment.
For an appointment at St Albans Health and Wellbeing Centre, please press the buzzer by the front door. The receptionist will direct you to the first floor children’s waiting area. The clinician will collect you from the children’s waiting area and will be wearing PPE. Parents, carers and patients will be required to follow relevant Government guidance regarding face coverings and social distancing.
For an appointment at The Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre, please press the buzzer by the front door and speak to the receptionist. They will direct you to the first floor children’s reception and waiting area. The clinician will collect you from the children’s waiting area and will be wearing PPE. Parents, carers and patients will be required to follow relevant Government guidance regarding face coverings and social distancing.
Services at Gossoms End and Rothschild House in Tring will not be resuming at present.
Referrals to the children’s eye service are through DXS and Systm One as usual.
Please contact the service on 01923 470680 option 2, 1 or HCT.CYPSpecialistServices@nhs.net for appointments and queries.
If you feel uneasy about coming to the clinics, please call 01923 470680 option 2. The clinicians can arrange a virtual appointment where appropriate.
The children’s eye service monitors and treats children with reduced vision and related eye conditions.
It is staffed by four orthoptists and a paediatric optometrist. Children are referred by health visitors, school nurses, GPs, paediatricians and other health professionals for orthoptic assessment, as a result of community screening or professional or parental concern or because of the family history.
The children are invited for a full orthoptic assessment including vision test, assessment for squint, stereopsis, fusion range and auto-refraction. Some children are then seen by the paediatric optometrist. Many of the children have amblyopia caused by refractive error or squint. If amblyopia treatment is not completed by aged seven, then it will not be effective. Others have eye conditions such as ocular albinism, cataracts and nystagmus.
Children can be referred on to a tertiary hospital for further tests or for squint surgery. Children with special needs are especially vulnerable to vision problems and are screened for a variety of eye problems. Their treatment plans are mostly the same as other patients, but the incidence of squint, refractive error and ocular problem is greater.
Contact the service
Tel: 01923 470680 option 2
Parking at St Albans and The Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centres
There is no available parking at St Albans Health and Wellbeing Centre and The Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre. There are a limited number of disabled car parking spaces.
For St Albans Health and Wellbeing Centre, the closest public car parks are Civic Centre Car Park and Charter Close Car Park.
For The Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre, the closest public car parks are the Watergardens and Gadebridge Park.
- How the service is provided
- Who is eligible for the service
- What will happen at your appointment
- Useful information
- Making a referral
- Patient experience
How the service is provided
The Children's Eye Service has two local centres in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
- Experienced staff
- Secure electronic record keeping and good communication with GPs
- Child friendly eye clinics with waiting areas
- Child friendly eye tests and assessment toys
- Clear diagnosis and treatment plan
- Clear explanation of condition and support for parents and carers
Who is eligible for the service
- Children, most of whom are under 7 years of age
- Children with squints
- Children with refractive errors and/or reduced vision
- Children with family history of eye problems in childhood
- Children with special educational needs
- Children where there is parental or professional concern
What will happen at your appointment
The initial assessment takes about 20 minutes and may include the following:
- Testing of visual acuity (sight) using pictures, letters or preferential looking
- Detection of any squint
- Assessment of eye movements
- Assessment of binocular function and stereopsis (3D)
- Screening for refractive errors
- Following identification of a squint or other eye defect including reduced vision, an appointment is made with a paediatric optometrist to check for any eye disease or to prescribe glasses. This test usually involves the use of eye drops which dilate the pupils and eliminate focusing for the test. On sunny days it might be more comfortable to wear a hat or sunglasses afterwards.
Some children will also need patching therapy monitored by the orthoptist, or may be referred on to the hospital eye service for squint surgery.
Information on the treatment of lazy eye
Screen time for kids
Have you heard of the Local Offer? If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Hertfordshire’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit www.hertsdirect.org/localoffer for an easily accessible one stop shop.
Making a referral
Children can be referred directly on SystmOne or by completing a paper referral form. Please give full details of the concerns including family history and attach any further relevant information.
Our referral form can be found on the link above and once completed should be sent to:
Referral Admin Hub
Peace Children’s Centre