The Importance of children’s eye checks
Its that time of year again, the summer holidays are nearing an end. You have been gathering together their booklists and uniforms so your little Einstein will be well prepared for the school year ahead. Have you considered that they may not perform well in school because they can’t see well or can’t see comfortably? All your hard work could be in vain if they cannot see the board or if they have difficulties with seeing small print in books.
Early detection of eye problems in children is so important. Visual problems can affect their abilities in sport, school work, and social development.
So a few facts:
80% of children’s learning is visual.
5-10% of all pre-school children have problems with their eyes or their vision.
25% of all children of school going age have vision problems.
All primary schools carry out vision screening ( not a full eye examination) but this is often too late to help a child if a problem already exists.
It is possible for a child to pass the current school vision screening and still have eye problems.
By the time your child starts school he/she is using his/her eyes in a very concentrated way, and skills such as seeing, focusing, tracking, teaming, perception and hand eye coordination form a major part of their learning process. Any problems with these skills will interfere with their ability to develop their learning skills.
So what should parents look out for?
If your child complains of not being able to see the whiteboard/tv/ball; has an eye turning in or out; is holding things very close to the face or gets frequent headaches it is advisable to book a full eye examination with your local paediatric optometrist.
However you should also look out for eye rubbing/blinking; reduced attention span: avoidance of reading/closework; covering one eye when carrying out activities; tilting the head to one side; complaining of double vision; repeatedly loosing place when reading; difficulty retaining previously read information.
It is important to remember that there may not be a problem but if there is the earlier it is detected the better.
Nichola Kennedy FAOI Optometrist, Kilcullen is qualified to masters level in paediatric optometry through University of Ulster and also Association Of Optometrists, Ireland. Our staff are trained and experienced in dealing with children’s vision. We always give you the best advise and act in your child’s best interest.