Parents and teachers are in an ideal position to detect signs that a child might not be seeing properly. In many cases children with eye conditions don’t realise their vision is different to what it could be. In these cases children try to adapt rather than expressing something is wrong. Here are a few things to look out for:
What signs may indicate a vision problem?
· One eye turns in/out while the other looking straight
· Excessive blinking, red or watery eyes
· Noticeable head tilting
· Covering or closing one eye, especially while reading
· Difficulty learning to read
· Holding a book very close or sitting close to the TV
· Squinting or straining to see board
· Trouble recognising faces of friends or family in the distance
· Headaches, blurred or double vision
When should children have their eyes tested?
· Before starting school or during prep is ideal
· At least every 2 years through school, more often in some cases
· If a parent or teacher has any concerns
If you are worried about a child’s vision it is best to book them in with an optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination. School screenings are important but don’t replace a thorough check up. Even if you are not concerned about your child’s vision it is recommended you have their eyes checked regularly. Consultation with an optometrist throughout childhood allows early detection of eye diseases or visual problems and is a good step towards maintaining good vision.
There are certain measures that can be taken in the home and classroom to maintain good vision and support developing eyes...
A healthy visual environment includes
· Adequate (bright, even) lighting is important for reading and playing electronic games
· Computer use limited to a maximum of 2 hrs at a time, may be less depending on child’s age and how their eyes are developing
· A well lit classroom
· Encourage outdoor activities (rather than reading) during school lunch break
· A broad-brimmed hat to reduce amount of UV rays reaching your child’s eyes