Checking a child’s eyesight from a young age
A Child’s Eyesight, why does it need to be checked?
The eyesight of your children is very important. You should be thinking of first checking your child’s eyesight and having their eyes tested, starting around the age of two, using picture tests. Eye health can be checked as well as assessing vision. It is particularly important if colour blindness or depth perception is not at the usual standard. Good eye care is available for every age. If your child is nervous to come in, then make it a fun thing to do. Many opticians understand that children could be nervous of going somewhere new and we always welcome parents to sit with their children whilst having their eyes tested and checked. Until the time when your child likes to think they are old enough to venture into the clinic alone, leaving the parent in the waiting room!
School vision assessments are non NHS funded but extremely beneficial when needed. This assessment is especially important if your child struggles with some aspects of school, or has learning difficulties such as dyslexia. By doing this, a child would not be disadvantaged, once diagnosed; it is always best to be safe than sorry!
Can a child develop hereditary eye problems?
The short answer is yes. Sight problems have a strong genetic component. Over 350 types of eye diseases such as colour blindness, macular degeneration and glaucoma can be related to hereditary circumstances. In most cases, eye health will degenerate as age increases, but it is important to keep up with eye appointments as any slight change can occur rapidly and change sight significantly.
How can parents protect the eyes of children?
There are many ways to protect the vision of a child, beginning with a well-balanced diet. Try to include vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin, E, Zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids, as they are all linked to good heath of the eye. Also, when playing sports provide your child with the protective equipment needed, so the eye doesn’t suffer any physical damages. Among other things, soft toys are essential in stopping scratches and knocks to the eye itself. From a young age, try to encourage visual development games to keep the eyes active – then if anything were to change, it would become apparent quickly.
Does wearing sunglasses protect child eyesight?
An obvious way to protect the eye this summer is to wear sunglasses. By the age of 18, children would have absorbed 80 per cent of their lifetime exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light!
Children with blue eyes are at a greater risk for UV damage than children with brown eyes. Parents should be aware that blue eyes need more protection. During days out in the sun, where there is significant sun exposure, children are at risk for sunburn of the eyes. So should children wear them? If anything, it is more important in youth to protect your eyes so they do not suffer in the future. Therefore, it is never too early for a child to wear sunglasses. Opticians say that children should be wearing sunglasses by the age of three.
However, selecting which sunglasses are going to provide the best protection can be a struggle. Ensure you are buying the ones that carry the British European standard “CE” mark. Find impact and scratch free sunglasses so they won’t be prone to damage during child play.
Getting a child to wear sunglasses regularly can be more of a task than buying the correct ones! As a parent, you should set the example of wearing your sunglasses often as it will mean your child will also want to wear theirs.