At this time of year, many of you are busy getting the kids ready for school.
But have you thought about adding an eye test to your “back to school” list?
Poor vision can have a damaging impact on your child’s ability to learn. Yet, research shows that as many as one in five children will return to school this year with an undiagnosed eye problem. The problem is that children often aren’t aware that they have a sight defect. Also, there may be no obvious signs for parents or teachers to pick up on. So, what are some of the more common eye problems to look out for in children?
A lazy eye is a serious but treatable cause of reduced vision. It often occurs when there is a difference between the two eyes, with the weaker eye failing to develop normal vision. While many cases of lazy eye are associated with a “turn” or squint, a large number don’t show any obvious signs. Fortunately, if detected early enough, a lazy eye can usually be treated successfully.
Children with long-sight (hyperopia) have difficulty focussing on near objects. For example, when reading or looking at a computer or tablet screen. Symptoms to look out for include headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain and tired eyes.
Children who have short-sightedness (myopia) can see clearly up close but find distance objects blurred. The first signs include difficulties seeing the board at school or sitting too close to the TV. Myopia usually starts between 9 – 13 years of age and tends to progress through the teenage years before stabilising.
Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea at the front of the eye. This leads to distorted or blurred vision at distance and near. Spectacles will sharpen things up, helping the vision to develop properly.
Free Eye Tests
Good vision is essential to your child’s education and regular eye examinations are the key to good vision. It’s never too early to get your children’s eyes tested. In fact it is a good idea to get them checked out before the age of 4, so that problems are discovered before they start school. The earlier a problem is detected, the greater the chances of it being corrected and treated successfully.
Remember, it costs nothing to have your child’s eyes tested. Under the NHS, eye tests are free to all children under 16 and to full-time students under 19. So, why not put an eye test on your “back to school” list today and make sure your child’s eyes are ready for the new school year.