As parents we strive for the best for our children, whether it’s in regards to education, health, well-being or healthy relationships.
When it comes to your child’s vision, they might not even realise that they have problems with their eyesight. Studies have indicated that 20% of children have vision difficulties, and around 60% of children who have been identified as problem learners suffer from undetected vision problems. If your child is having trouble seeing the whiteboard or their work at school, it can contribute to a lack of concentration and falling behind in their education. This is especially the case for younger children as approximately 80% of what is taught in our schools is presented visually.
Often children won’t bring up the issue, simply because they don’t realise there is a problem. Other times, they might be embarrassed or afraid of what might happen if they tell you that they are struggling to see properly.
Some symptoms to look out for in your child are as follows:
- Using one eye over the other (possibly due to blurriness or lack of clarity)
- Lack of Concentration
- Excessive tears in the eyes
- Constant eye rubbing
- Complaining of headaches.
If these symptoms are present and you are concerned about your child’s eyesight, make an appointment with your local optometrist to organise a comprehensive eye exam. The longer a vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more a child’s brain learns to accommodate the vision problem.
Organising an annual eye exam for your children might not seem important, especially if they don’t seem to be experiencing any problems with their vision. However, an eye exam is not only an important diagnostic tool for determining if your child needs glasses or not, it’s also key for finding signs and symptoms of more serious issues.
Advice from the UK National Screening Committee recommends screening at age four to five years, however, many optometrists will see children much younger than this for a sight test. The Association of Optometrists say ‘we recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three, so that conditions are picked up and treated early. After the first test it is a good idea to return every two years, or as recommended by your optometrist.’
What can I do to look after my child’s eyes?
- Plenty of outdoor activities – regular play and exercise has been shown to contribute to healthy eyes. Studies state that two hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal.
- Diet – Eating the right foods and staying properly hydrated are key elements in keeping your entire body healthy, and this includes your eyes
- Protect your children’s eyes from the sun – Make sure that they never look directly at the sun, and that they wear good quality sunglasses, which block out some of the sun’s harmful UV rays, during bright days.
If you feel that your child needs an eye exam, make sure to contact your local optometrist or medical eye specialist. At Cathedral Eye Clinic we have specialists that treat children in the area of orthoptics and surgery, if you would like to arrange a consultation please click the button below.