Caring for young eyes
Most very young children have their eyesight assessed as part of routine developmental checks. While these are very important, they aren’t as thorough as a complete eye test by a qualified optician. So we recommend that your child has their eyes tested from an early age.
Testing before your son or daughter goes into full-time education means that any problems that they may have are identified early, setting them up for a happy and fulfilling school life. That’s because not being able to see clearly can be confusing in a busy classroom.
Poor eyesight can cause learning and behavioural problems, which might be blamed on other things. This is especially true for young children, who may find it difficult to explain the difficulties they are having with their eyesight. They may not even be aware they have a problem at all.
And of course the sooner that vision problems are detected, the better the outcome. Conditions such as squint and amblyopia (lazy eye) can be treated more effectively if they are picked up earlier, which could make a huge difference to your child.
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Things to look out for
It’s often difficult to tell whether your child has sight problems, which is why regular eye tests are so important. There are a number of things to look out for:
- Straining their eyes or tilting their head to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their eyes
- Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
- Falling behind in school
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- The presence of a “turn” in the eye or a misdirection of the eyes
- Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
- Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
- Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
- Avoiding using a computer or tablet because it hurts their eyes
- A “white reflex” in photographs. This is similar in appearance to red-eye, except it’s white. It is extremely serious – if you notice it, you should seek medical attention immediately.