Your (Child’s) Eyes
Let’s start with a statistic before we dig in: Did you know that if one parent is short-sighted there is a 70% chance that their child will also be short sighted?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’ve got to treat our eyes like we treat our teeth! We visit the dentist faithfully, making our six-monthly appointments before we leave, then go home and brush our teeth, floss (do we all do that? I doubt it) and generally stress about the beauty of our gnashers. Teeth are stressful. We even have horrible dreams about them falling out.
I’m not trying to be controversial here (or am I?), but I strongly believe that we care more about our teeth because they are a perceived marker of attractiveness. If they’re blindingly white and straight, we feel more beautiful. Am I right, or am I right? Eyes are pretty, or they’re not. There’s not much we can do about them other than adorn them with cosmetics when the fancy takes us. We get what we’re given and we don’t pay them much notice until they start to stop working. Why is that? Why do we religiously visit the dentist as a preventative measure? Is is purely vanity-related? I don’t really think so.
We’ve been brought up with regular visits to the dentist and doctor, so it’s ingrained in us to care about our teeth and body; and rightly so. They are VERY important. But so is your sight, and the sight of your children.
So, how about we create some new habits? Could you help spread the good word?
Let’s look at the little people in our lives. There are different variables at play when it comes to considering our children’s vision. For a start, they can’t always tells us when they are having eyesight issues. So, it’s imperative that you start the habit of visiting your local optician from a young age: let’s say three years old. There are things to look out for so you can identify potential problems early on. Let’s delve a bit further.
Telltale signs that something’s up. (Don’t panic!)
- Your child is rubbing their eyes regularly
- They hold a book close to their face
- Similarly, they sit too close to the television
- You might see them use their finger to guide their reading
- Screen time hurts their eyes
- They complain about headaches
- You may notice a ‘turn’ in their eyes
- They may close one eye in order to read or watch TV
- Unexplained clumsiness
Children experience the world visually and they learn visually which is why it is critical to keep tabs on their eyesight. Serious vision problems in children are thankfully rare but it pays to be cautious. To do that is easy, and not costly. Free eye tests are available under the NHS for children under the age of 16 and young people under 19 who are in full time education.
Here’s a helpful timeline to bear in mind:
72 hours old – your new baby’s eyes will be checked over
6-8 weeks old – a follow-up examination
1-2/2.5 years old – as part of a routine health check you will be asked if your child has any vision problems
4-5 years old – vision screening is (generally) performed in schools and may detect irregularities. If screening is not an option you can take your child to your optician or GP if you have any concerns.
These are important milestones with regards to your child’s overall health, however they are not considered thorough eye tests. So, just like a visit to any other health practitioner (I’m talking about you, dentists!) it’s all about prevention and early intervention.
Your Eyes optician is a welcoming, family practice passionate about vision. We’re here to answer your questions, offer guidance and most of all, reassure.
I’ll leave you with this: most children have good vision and don’t need glasses but up to 1 in 5 children have an undiagnosed vision problem. So, get in touch and bring your little ‘uns in for a visit!
Tel: 016973 22285