With only a few more days until children go back to school, now is the perfect time to ensure you know the health of your child’s eyes.
Did you know it is recommended a child has their first eye test at 6 months? This allows for early detection of misaligned eyes which, if untreated, can develop into a lazy eye or amblyopia. A baby’s vision adjusts throughout its life. For instance, a two month old’s eyes will not appear to be very well coordinated and often wander. This isn’t something to be concerned about and passes with time. If, however, one of the baby’s eyes turns inwards or outwards constantly then you should seek advice. After a baby’s first eye test, subsequent tests can be every two years provided there is no history of childhood eye problems in your family, otherwise once a year is recommended.
Once a child is nearing, or at, school age their eyesight should be developed but there are some things to look out for which suggest there could be problems with your child’s vision. If you notice your child doing any of the following you should get their eyes tested:
- rubbing their eyes;
- blinking excessively;
- regularly closing one eye;
- holding objects very close;
- abstaining from reading books and watching television;
- complaining of headaches;
- using a finger to maintain place while reading;
- missing words when reading.
In school, poor vision can often be missed and can be the cause of your child not reaching their full academic potential. When your child is learning to read, watch how they do so to keep an eye out for any red flags. The same goes for any close up activities such as colouring in and crafts. If you hear of your child misbehaving or becoming irritable whilst listening to teachers in school, this could be related to their vision. If they are struggling to read the board or follow along with text or drawings in front of them, they are likely to become distressed and misbehave.
It is important to be aware of your child’s eyesight so that it can potentially be corrected and you have time to find the best prescription for them. A child’s prescription is likely to change slightly as they grow older. As a child nears adulthood, they may consider laser eye surgery but this wouldn’t be an option unless they’d had a steady prescription for a couple of years. Although there isn’t a set best age to get LASIK or PRK, or any laser eye surgery, it is generally advised that a person should be over 18. This is because they are likely to have had the same prescription for several years which is required for surgery. It would be a shame to go through the surgery only for your vision to develop or change.
If you are seeking an eye doctor for your family, we recommend finding a BBB accredited one. If you are due to meet with us soon, we’d be more than happy to give you some local recommendations.