Tell tale signs that your child needs an eye exam
“Don't sit so close to the TV!” It's a statement that's repeated time and time again as parents, but perhaps the statement should be a question, “Why do you need to sit so close? Are you having trouble seeing clearly from further away?”
You can pick up on tell-tale signs that your child could benefit from visiting an optometrist through some observation of your child, look for:
- Trouble reading: Do they skip lines or lose their place often whilst reading? Can they see what's written on the whiteboard when in class?
- Squinting: By squinting they may be trying to compensate for a vision problem
- Sitting too close: Short-sighted kids will usually have good vision when up close to what they're looking at but poor vision from a distance
- Awkward posture: Including turning or tilting of the head to one side when reading or closing one eye
- Rubbing, redness or watery eyes: Excessive rubbing of the eyes, regular redness, tearing up or constant blinking
- Headaches: Recurring headaches may be the result of fatigued eye muscles from straining to see clearly
Kids rely on their vision for the majority of their learning. A child who can see clearly is more able to focus on their learning. For school-age kids, your child's teacher will be an invaluable ally in detecting any vision issues. Speak to them if you have any concerns about your child's vision as they may have made observations or be able to keep a look out for certain behaviours.
Remember, a child will usually have no way of knowing that what they see is any different to what everyone else sees. So avoid generic questions like, “can you see OK?”
If in doubt, get it checked out! As with many medical conditions, early diagnosis of vision problems is important and can make treatment easier and more effective.
The most common vision problems affecting children are:
- myopia (short-sightedness)
- hyperopia (long-sightedness)
- astigmatism (distorted vision)
If you are at all concerned about your child’s vision, your local Specsavers optometrist should be your first port of call.
Did you know that Kids Go Free at Specsavers?
Specsavers recently launched Kids Go Free which means that every New Zealander under the age of 16 is entitled to have a comprehensive eye exam at any of the 51 Specsavers stores as often as required. To find out more information or to request an appointment for your child or children, visit www.specsavers.co.nz.
This article was written for Kidspot by Specsavers