Did you know over 80% of your child's learning is experienced through vision?
As another school year fast approaches and you busily equip your children with school supplies, uniforms and the latest stationary craze to help kick-start their learning, keep in mind that an estimated 80% of what a child learns at school is via information presented visually. With this knowledge the most important thing you equip your child with this school year could be a pair of prescription glasses.
Children often assume that how they see is normal and vision problems may not always be apparent. Many children try to adapt their vision problem without knowing they could see better, so it is unlikely they would tell you they are having a problem with their vision.
Below is a list of 5 signs you as a parent or caretaker can look for in your children to recognise the presence of a vision problem.
1. Frequent blinking or rubbing the eyes
If you notice your child blinking excessively in one or both eyes this could be the result of refractive error (need for glasses). Frequent rubbing of the eyes can also be a telltale sign that you should book an appointment with your local Optometrist. These two specific behaviours can be linked to children dealing with blurry vision.
If you think about what it's like to look at a television screen when the picture is a bit fuzzy or when a photograph isn't quite in focus, this is how children with a refraction error are seeing the world. They blink and rub their eyes in an attempt to get a "clearer picture".
2. Squinting and sitting very close when watching television
Does your child tend to squint or sit very close to the television whilst viewing their favourite cartoon?
Do they lower their head whilst reading a book or digital screen?
These are all signs your child may need a quick trip to your local Optometrist for some painless and non-invasive testing for possible shortsightedness (not seeing distant objects well) or longsightedness (not seeing well close-up).
3. Tilting head noticeably when looking at things
If whilst trying to focus on the television or a screen your child noticeably tilts his or her head in an attempt to focus on the image in front of them, a visit to your local Optometrist would be a good start to help identify the cause of this problem.
4. Covering or closing one eye when looking or reading
If your child closes one eye and it helps him or her see better, there could be a structural problem like astigmatism. Whilst the name astigmatism may sound a little intimidating, it's actually a rather common occurrence in most people to a varying degree.
Astigmatism simply refers to the shape of your eyeball. Those with an astigmatism tend to have one or two eyeballs that are more the shape of a grape than a marble. This is nothing to be alarmed about, after all no one is perfect. Astigmatism can be corrected with a basic prescription.
5. Complaints of headaches, blurred or double vision
Headaches tend to be a common problem in children and can often be the result of a varying degree of factors. It is very difficult for a child to know if they have a vision problem as they assume the way they see is how everyone sees, as it is all they have ever known. If your child complains they have any of the following symptoms;
- blurred vision
- double vision
It is likely they would benefit from a thorough eye examination from their local Optometrist to help determine the root cause of their symptoms.
These 5 signs are by no means the only determinants that should encourage you to book an eye examination for your children. A thorough eye examination before school starts is recommended by Optometrists to ensure your child is ready to learn. It's important to understand that children's vision can change dramatically from one year to the next. Speak to your family Optometrist about how often you should have your children's eyes checked.
Make your child's first test for the new school year an eye test!