When children are going through the vital developmental phase in their early childhood, they get about 80% of their learning about the world through visual stimuli. Therefore assessing and testing their eyes during these early years is vital to ensure that they reach milestones in their social and intellectual development. Plus it gives them the self-confidence to go out into the yard or playground and explore.
As parents, there are tell-tale signs that can be picked up during infancy and early childhood that point towards vision problems. Generally the more serious the problem the earlier it’s picked up. During the first few months, a baby has very poor vision, with little visual acuity and seeing mostly in black and white. After six months their vision should naturally sharpen and they should have better hand eye coordination. At this point, you should take your child for their first eye exam. After this, an eye exam should happen from the age of three onwards on a yearly basis.
Signs of Poor Eye Sight:
- Constantly sitting very close to the television or holding a book close to them
- Squinting to see clearly
- High sensitivity to light and shielding the eyes
- Avoiding certain things, close activities (reading, colouring) or distant activities (playing with a ball or tag).
- Frequent rubbing of the eyes
- Complaining of a headache or tiredness in the eyes
- Watery eyes
The typical problems that young children experience are:
Farsightedness: Common with kids and can lead to crossed eyes. This can easily be correctly in the early years through wearing glasses or contact lenses. In very rare cases, surgery is needed. However, left untreated, crossed-eyedness or strabismus can lead to permanent and irreversible vision loss.
Nearsightedness: Is also called myopia and means that children can’t see the blackboard and other far away objects.
Astigmatism: This is when your child has blurred or distorted vision at all distances. In most cases these common conditions can be treated with correctly prescribed glasses or contact lenses.
The Immovable Mountain
Your child may be as stubborn as a mule and refuse to wear glasses (let alone contact lenses). If you run into opposition, try some of these methods:
- Get him or her to select glasses from a range of frames that they picked alone.
- Explain the advantages of wearing glasses. Like you will be able to play sports now or you will be able to see the computer better.
- Some children are worried they will be teased or feel different with glasses. Calm their worries by giving them an example of a superhero, cartoon character or famous person with glasses who they can look up to.
- Don’t visit the optometrist to select glasses when they are grumpy, sick, or hungry.
- Make sure that the glasses fit correctly and are comfortable for them.
This post was written by a contributor of Home Jobs by MOM. Athena writes about parenting and health for leading prescription glasses online provider Direct Sight.