While kids are enjoying the summer break, many parents are already busy planning for the new school year. Uniforms, PE kits, pens, pencils etc. are all essential items on your child’s “back to school” list. However, are you sure their eyes are ready for the challenges ahead?
Poor vision can have a damaging impact on children’s’ ability to learn, as well as holding them back in sports and other school activities. Yet, research shows that as many as one in five children will return to school with undiagnosed eye problems, such as a “lazy eye”. The problem is that children often aren’t aware they have a sight defect. Also, there may be no obvious signs for parents or teachers to pick up on.
Free eye tests
Regular eye tests are the key to ensuring your child has the best possible vision. And it’s never too early to have their eyes tested. In fact it’s a good idea to get an eye check before the age of 4, so that problems are discovered before starting school. The earlier an eye defect is detected, the greater the chances of it being corrected and treated successfully. Remember, it costs nothing to have your child’s eyes tested: NHS eye tests are free to all children under 16 and full-time students under 19.
Fortunately, these days, wearing glasses no longer has the stigma it used to. Modern frames come in a terrific range of colours and styles and most children treat them as a trendy fashion accessory. Nevertheless, while kids’ specs have never looked better or felt more comfortable, wearing them can be a hindrance for sports and other activities.
That’s when contact lenses can be a great option. Contact lens technology has developed immensely in recent years, making them more comfortable and easier than ever to wear - even for children as young as 7 or 8 years old. Daily disposables are a particularly healthy and convenient choice for kids with busy schedules: no cleaning or disinfecting procedures are required and a fresh pair of lenses are used every time they’re worn.
Alternatively, specialized prescription goggles are available for use in a wide range of different sports. These include football, basketball, tennis, squash and swimming. Sports frames are specially designed from light-weight, impact resistant materials with soft protective padding around the eyes and nose. Furthermore, they are shaped in a curved, wraparound style to allow the widest possible field of view.
If you have any questions about your child’s individual visual needs, ask your optometrist for specialist advice. And, to make sure their eyesight is up to standard, don’t forget to include an eye test on your “back to school” list.