Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Could Your Child Need Glasses? . . . Read the following to find out!

It can be difficult to pick out the signs that suggest that our children have problems with their vision, and as parents, we have to use all our parental intuition to figure out if they do! The 2 main reasons it can be difficult to be certain if our children need eye glasses are as follows:
·         They don’t want us to know! : Wearing glasses at school is not exactly a fashion statement and even with todays ‘trendy glasses’ there is still the possibility that they could be teased. It is for this reason that your child may have blurred vision yet choose to hide it from you.
·         They don’t realise themselves! :  This is especially true for children under the age of 5 years old as if there vision has always been blurred, they do not know any different.  In addition to this, If your child has just one blurred eye, then they are even less likely to notice as their good eye will enable them to see everything they normally would.
The only real way to be 100% certain if your child needs an eye test is to take them for an eye test once they get to the age of about 2 years old. Optometrists have specialist equipment to assess the health and vision of children as young as this. The reason it is so critical to get your child’s eyes tested at such a young age is because they are most vulnerable to develop a lazy eye when they are young. Children’s eyes stop developing at the age of about 8 years old and beyond this point it is no longer possible to treat a lazy eye. There are however some signs you can look out for that could indicate your child has visual problems. Here are my top 5:
·         Screwing their eyes tightly: If you see your child doing this, then there is a very high possibility that they are near sighted. They are more likely to do this when they are looking at distance tasks such as watching TV or watching a sports game. Short sightedness tends to deteriorate quite quickly in young children so it is important that they see an Optometrist as quickly as possible to allow them to get eye glasses. This will ensure that they do not fall behind at school.
·         Headaches: All children complain of headaches from time to time but they are most likely eye related if they affect either the front or the side of the head. If these headaches appear worse after reading or computer work, then this further reinforces the possibility that your child needs glasses.
·         Poor co-ordination: If your child seems poor at tasks that require good hand eye co-ordination such as catching a ball or playing baseball, then this could indicate that your child has a lazy eye. In order to have good hand eye co-ordination it is essential that both eyes are equally strong.
·         Falling behind at school: Obviously all children have varying academic abilities but if you feel your child is not performing as well as they could, then it may be because they have problems with their vision. A pair of glasses may significantly improve how they perform at school.
·         A strabismus: A strabismus (also called a squint) is the medical name for a ‘turn in the eye’ and this can be either inwards or outwards. A squint can be permanent or intermittent and if you suspect your child has one then they need to see an Optometrist as soon as possible otherwise a lazy eye is likely to develop.

If you suspect any of the above signs or symptoms written above then you should absolutely take your child for an eye examination as early as possible. Problems such as a lazy eye can be treated with occlusion therapy, which involves patching the good eye to stimulate the lazy eye to develop, providing they are seen young enough. Your child only gets one pair of eyes and as parents we need to ensure that they are well looked after.
This article was brought to you by Tim Harwood, an Optometrist from the UK with over 10 years of experience of caring for the eyes of children. Tim also writes for his own website TreatmentSaver which provides eye related information including laser eye forums and laser eye surgery guides. Tim is a firm believer that there really is no child too young to have their eyes tested. As a parent if your suspect there is any problem with your child’s eyes, regardless of their age you should bring them to your local optometrist.

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