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  • Writer's pictureAxxis Optical

Your kids’ eye health:what parents should know

Undiagnosed vision problems can cause serious issues for children. These include poor development, higher risk of injury and learning difficulties, which can some­times be misdiagnosed as behavioural problems. Here are some common signs of vision impairments parents should be able to identify.

Infants (up to 24 months)

A child’s first routine eye exam should occur between 6 to twelve months of age. The following signs should also prompt a visit to the optometrist:

• Excessive tearing

• A red or encrusted eyelid

• Constant and erratic eye turning

• Extreme light sensitivity

Preschool (two to five years)

This is a critical time for learning and development, much of which is guided by the child’s vision. Children’s eyes should be examined if they:

• Sit too close to screens

• Hold books too close to their face

• Frequently squint, cover an eye or rub their eyes

• Have an eye that turns in or out

• Lack co-ordination

• Have a short attention span for their age

• Avoid activities requiring visual acuity (such as colouring or solving puzzles)

• Experience light sensitivity

Conditions such as strabismus (having crossed eyes) and amblyopia (having a lazy eye) typically develop around this age.

School age (six to 18 years)

At this point in their development, children are able to report symptoms of vision problems such as seeing double, being tired or having headaches. In addition, they may have a vision issue if they:

• Avoid reading and similar activities

• Hold reading materials too close to their face

• Constantly cover an eye or tilt their head on the same side

• Have difficulty remembering what they read

• Lose their place easily when they read

• Have an eye that turns in or out

Vision problems can severely impair a child’s academic performance and impact self-esteem. In general, it’s recommended that children have an eye exam before starting school and then once a year there-after, even in the absence of symptoms.

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