More and more children need spectacles these days – whether it’s due to hours spent in front of the TV or computer or iPad screen or due to eye problems arising from medical or genetic problems. Correct eye care is a must for children, right from infancy onwards. Vision is, after all, the most important of all senses and in fact 80% of what children learn in school is presented visually. Vision thus plays a crucial role in your child’s development and growth.
Your child’s vision starts developing in the first six months itself and an infant with normal vision will start showing better hand-eye coordination by this age. This is when your child should undergo her first eye exam. This could be a simple evaluation by her paediatrician. However, if you have a history of eye problems in your family, or if your child is showing symptoms of vision problems, an official eye exam is a must. Even if there are no risk factors or a family history of eye problems, you should get your child’s eyes checked at 6 months, 3 years and before she starts school.
As your child grows, it’s necessary that you be alert for any signs of vision impairment. Some of the symptoms of eye problems may include:
– Sitting too close to the TV or blackboard
– Having trouble coordinating, both hand-eye and body-eye coordination
– Low attention levels or interest in school work or activities
– Poor school performance and taking longer than normal to complete homework
– Difficulty in reading and writing
– Physical symptoms such as headaches, eye pain or blurry vision
Importance of Eye Exams
Whether your child displays any of the above symptoms or not, her first comprehensive eye examination should ideally be at the age of three, and thereafter every two years at the minimum. Regular eye exams ensure that your child’s eye health is in good condition. Moreover, any vision problems or their symptoms can be detected early on so that preventive and corrective measures can be taken immediately. Your child’s eye exam should include the following:
– Thorough inspection of the eye
– Light reflex testing with a small flashlight
– Covering one eye at a time while focussing on a target, which will help detect any misalignment of the eyes
– Age appropriate eye chart testing, for each eye separately. Make sure your child is not peeking!
– An ophthalmoscope for older children, where the optometrist checks the back of the eye
If the eye examination reveals any vision problems, choosing the right pair of eyeglasses is very important. The recommended lens prescription is the primary consideration in choosing glasses. Also, choose lenses made with safe and lightweight materials such as polycarbonate, instead of glass. You will need to take into consideration if your child plays any sports and get a pair of sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses if necessary. This will provide the best protection against eye injury.
Bring your child to your local Leightons Opticians branch for an eye examination. Our friendly and trained practitioners will also help you choose the correct frames and lenses as per your child’s prescription and requirement. Book an appointment at Leightons Opticians or call us on 0800 40 20 20 today!