It is vitally important to have the vision of your child checked. Eye problems in children can develop quickly, and, if left unattended, can lead to serious decrease in vision, which can be irrepairable. Early detection of visual problems greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.
Do Many Children have Vision Problems?
Yes. Recent university studies show:
- 30% of all children have some form of visual problem
- 40% of all children with "learning delays" have a visual problem
- 2 – 5 % of all children have a serious conditions called Lazy Eye.
At what age can I have my child's vision checked?
From age 5 to primary school: Optometrists can accurately determine the vision that a child attains. We will check
- The level of vision that a child attains
- To rule out a turned eye
- To rule out a lazy eye
- The co-ordination of the eyes
- The level of fine discrmination using both eyes (stereopsis)
- That the eyes are healthy and developing normally
- To rule out shortsightedness, longsightedness, or astigmatism
- That the eyes are working together
From primary school onward, Optometrists can very accurately measure the level of vision, and focussing ability of the eyes.
I think my child is making up symptoms because other kids at school have glasses, and they're the 'in thing.'
This is a lot more common than you might think! We have a number of tests that can be used to check vision, and can easily tell if the symptoms are genuine, and if there is cause for concern. It is impossible to 'fake' through an eye exam.
What symptoms should I look for in my child?
If you are a parent or teacher, some particular symptoms to look for include:
- One eye aims in a slightly different direction to the other
- Your child squints or closes one eye
- Difficulty seeing things you can see
- A head tilt or turn
- Clumsiness or poor hand/eye co-ordination
- Holding books unusually close
- Excessive blinking or watery eyes
- Inability or reluctance to read for periods of time
- Rubbing eyes alot
- Skipping lines or words when reading
- Learning difficulties
Parents often find it difficult to detect a specific symptom, so if you have ANY concern, please ensure your child has an eye examination.
What happens at an eye test?
It is a simple thing to have an eye test, and we will be able to tell you immediately if there is cause for concern. In some cases, children with problems can be treated with eye exercises rather than glasses. We will give you a full explanation about your child's problem which will include:
- The nature of the problem (eg shortsightedness, longsightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye).
- What treatment options are available (eg. exercises, glasses)
- How long treatment will be needed
- What the expected outcome will be
- The expectation of your child's vision in the long term