Does my child need an eye examination?
I recently had a discussion with a parent that never realized his child was struggling with his vision. His son’s eye problem was only detected when he was 16 years old, after many years of struggling in school. The new glasses immediately made an immense difference to him! The parent felt very guilty that they didn’t pick up his vision problem sooner. His son’s early development was impacted negatively because of this, and could have been prevented if they only realized sooner that they needed to take him for an eye evaluation.
Many parents believe their child will tell them if they can’t see well. The truth is, children often don’t know they don’t have good vision, because they have nothing to compare it to.
Do you know how well your child can see?
Basic visual skills do not only include good vision, but also eye teaming, eye movement, focusing ability and eye/hand coordination. These skills are very important for learning and development. If problems are not picked up during the first few years, damage and vision loss can be permanent.
Remember that children should have an eye exam shortly after birth, again at age 3 or 4, and then before they go to Gr1 at age 6. For school-aged children, an eye exam is recommended every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need glasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to the optometrist’s recommendations.
I decided to write down a few signs that may indicate that your child have vision problems:
- Tending to sit close to the television, or holding a book/tablet close
- Losing place when reading, or using a finger to guide eyes when reading.
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light and / or excessive tearing
- Closing one eye to read or watch television
- Difficulty concentrating on a task for a long period
- Receiving lower grades than usual.
- Avoiding using a computer, because it ‘hurts my eyes’.
- Squinting or tilting head when focusing at something at a distance.
Should a deficiency be noted with your child’s eye examination, the recommended treatment will be discussed. There are different methods of treatment, depending on what your child may need. Glasses may be prescribed, or visual therapy programs may be necessary to help with eye teaming, movement or focusing skills.
Please remember to bring your child for his/her eye examination on a regular basis!