Did you know that, along with allergies and asthma, eye disorders are the most common long-term health problems experienced by children?
Today we support “Children’s Vision Day”, we want to help create public awareness and education to schools and parents about the importance of having regular eye checks.
Good vision is important for a child’s educational, physical and social development. With approximately 1 in 4 Australian children suffering from an undetected vision problem, it is important to be aware of the possible signs of a vision problem to give every child the best chance of reaching their full learning potential.
We recommend that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and regularly as they progress through primary and secondary school.
Many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early and with most children, they do not tell you if they are struggling or having any sight difficulties so it is very helpful to know what to look out for.
What sort of signs should you look out for in a child?
- head is frequently tilted to one side or one shoulder is noticeably higher
- squinting or closing of one eye
- excessive blinking or squinting
- poor visual/motor coordination skills (often called, “hand-eye coordination”)
- problems judging distances while moving in space, frequently bumps into things or drops things
- becomes easily confused when in motion
- frequently loses things
What is involved in an eye check for a child?
Routine medical exams for kids’ vision include:
- Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a pediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery, this is part of the APGAR test.
- High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye doctor.
- In the first year of life, all infants should be routinely screened for eye health during check-ups with their pediatrician or family doctor.
- Around age 3½, kids should undergo eye health screenings and visual acuity tests (or tests that measure sharpness of vision) with their pediatrician or family doctor.
- Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment evaluated by their doctors. Those who fail either test should be examined by their pediatrician or family doctor.
- After age 5, further routine screenings should be done at school or the doctor’s office, or after the appearance of symptoms such as squinting or frequent headaches. (Many times, a teacher will realize the child isn’t seeing well in class.)
- Kids who wear prescription glasses or contacts should have annual check-ups by an eye doctor to screen for vision changes.
If your child is showing signs of any of the above or has not yet had a full eye check, we would love to help!
Whether you wish to contact one of our optometrists or speak to one of our friendly eyecare assistants, please contact us. Or if you wish to book an appointment, simply fill in the appointment request form on our website at the bottom of this page and we will get right back to you to arrange a date and time