Does Your Child Need an Eye Exam? – Here’s Eight Signs To Look Out For

It can be difficult to determine if your child needs glasses and they may very well not be aware that they even have a vision problem. The issue is that blurry vision, lack of visual acuity, or some other form of eyesight problem is something that the child might consider normal for them. As adults, we generally have a longer frame of reference to draw upon, and we simply know when our vision or our general sense of wellbeing is less than optimal.

If you suspect your child might have vision problems, here are some signs to look out for;

Complaints of headaches or sore eyes

Has your child has come to you complaining of a headache or sore eyes? If so it’s possible that they are overexerting them. This is usually from the extra effort used to focus or to try and ‘see through’ blurry vision.

Losing their place when reading

You may notice when you read with your child that they miss words and sometimes skips whole sentences. At first, you might suspect that your child is being careless or impatient, or simply not paying attention closely enough. However, a visual processing problem such as poor eye tracking skills could be to blame for your child’s difficulty with reading.

Reversing letters or words

Reversing letters is common in a child until around age 7. People often think writing letters backwards is a sign of dyslexia, but that’s often not the case. Another possible cause is visual processing issues.


Squinting can be an indication that your child has a refractive error (Refractive errors happen when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina.) When your child squints, they may be able to temporarily improve their focus which is why they’re doing it. There are various types of refractive errors ranging from Astigmatism through to Myopia (nearsightedness).

Sitting too close to screens or TVs

Have you noticed your child holding an iPad, or other handheld device up to their face? Some kids even lower their heads down toward the screen. This may indicate a case of myopia in which ones vision becomes clearer when they move an object closer.

Continually rubbing their eyes

Excessive eye rubbing may indicate eye strain or general eye fatigue. These symptoms can represent a variety of issues even down to a simple infection (such as conjunctivitis). Of course, the issue could be more serious, and warrants further investigation.

Covering one eye

Should you notice your child covering one eye or tilting their head in an attempt to focus, they might be trying to adjust their angle of vision. This is a possible indication of ‘lazy eye’ known as amblyopia, and is one of the more common eye disorders in children.

Having trouble concentrating

Admittedly most children have trouble concentrating at one time or another! And certainly we’re not saying it’s always vision related. If you’ve received feedback from their teacher that your child’s attentiveness at school hasn’t been great, it could be because they’re having trouble switching their focus between close and distant objects.

For example, in a classroom they might be switching their depth of field from a piece of paper on their desk, to their teacher, and toward the whiteboard or chalkboard. A child’s eyes needs to quickly adapt to different field lengths and different objects. If they have a vision problem, they may be over exerting themselves and causing fatigue.

So what should I do?

A simple way to determine if your child has any type of vision problem is to book them in for an eye test. Even if they already wear glasses, a child needs to have a check up every twelve months.

At Eyes By Desi we are dedicated as your Central Coast eyecare providers, to optimise your children’s vision, both now and in the future.

We are Behavioural Optometrists with extra training, qualifications and experience in examining children compared to the typical optometrist who you may have seen in the past.

We have been examining children, prescribing, fitting and dispensing eyewear for nearly 20 years. We are fussy about your eyewear and always take the time to get things right.

In some cases vision therapy may be required to improve visual and/or visual information processing skills.

My child needs glasses, now what?

If your child needs to wear glasses, and has any anxiety or reservations in doing so, be sure to check out our Tips Guide on how to help your Child LOVE their Glasses!

We’re here to help

Obviously we can help you and your child to purchase their glasses, but we’re also here to assist in adjustments and other issues. All glasses sold at Eyes By Design have a minimum 12 month warranty on the frame (some brands are up to two years).

At Eyes By Design we are dedicated as your Central Coast eyecare providers, to optimise your children’s vision, both now and in the future.

We’ve been prescribing, fitting and dispensing eyewear for nearly 20 years. We are fussy about your eyewear and always take the time to get things right.

The Importance of Getting Your Eyes and Eyewear ‘Sports Ready’.

Kids Sport

About 15% of all children have eye problems which may be impacting their ability to comfortably perform daily activities and to learn. While we often think of children’s eyesight problems affecting the way kids manage in the classroom, what about the impact of eye problems on sport?

As well as causing problems reading from a board at school, eye problems in children can affect how clearly a child can see the goal in netball, how accurately they can judge the speed or position of an approaching ball in soccer, or how confident they feel in the ocean for nippers.

Dr Nicholas Altuneg, specializes in checking children’s eyes and the way they use their vision. He sees many children every year who are having problems with everyday activities due to eyesight problems. “Most children with eye problems will never complain about finding it hard to see because what they are experiencing seems normal to them,“ said Dr Altuneg. Therefore, annual eye checks are the best way of detecting any eye problems that may be impacting on a child’s learning or sports performance.

Contact Us Today if you would like to book an eye exam for your child.

Your Annual Eye Exam

Eye Exam

We often get asked the question, Do I need an Annual Eye Exam if my eyesight doesn’t seem to have changed much?

The answer is a definite “Yes!”  Adults of all ages need to have a thorough eye exam once a year.  The reason is that regular exams can detect eye problems at an early stage, when they are easier to treat and less likely to damage your vision.

As we get older, our eyes change.  Frustrating, yes, but an inevitable part of the normal aging process.  We don’t see as clearly in our 40s as we did in our 20s. We may need reading glasses or stronger prescriptions.  We may need lubricant drops to keep our eyes from becoming too dry.

Virtually everyone, at some point, will develop cataracts, the condition where the lens of the eye becomes hardened and cloudy, resulting in poorer vision that is treated surgically.

Not all age-related eye conditions are routine.  At every eye exam, we are on the lookout for potentially devastating eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.  These diseases often begin “silently” and, if left untreated, can cause blindness.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people older than 60.  It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, is damaged. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: the “wet” and the “dry” form.  Most patients with macular degeneration have the dry form, characterised by the presence of yellow deposits under the retina.

Annual Eye Exam

The wet form, which is less common and more serious, is characterised by the growth of abnormal blood vessels that leak blood and fluid into the eye.   This form of the disease tends to cause a sudden vision loss. It can progress rapidly and requires treatment as soon as possible.

While there is no permanent cure for macular degeneration, the good news is that it can be significantly slowed with proper medical treatment to help preserve eyesight.

The symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Increased difficulty reading or driving
  • Centre of vision becomes distorted
  • Straight lines that appear crooked
  • Changes in colour perception
  • Dark, blurry areas or a “white out” area in the centre of vision.


Glaucoma is another serious eye condition that is a treatable cause of blindness.  It is a leading cause of blindness in Australia, especially among older people. The optic nerve is progressively damaged, and glaucoma screenings, which check only intraocular pressure, are not sufficient to diagnose the disease.  The only sure way to detect glaucoma is to have a complete eye examination.

We treat Glaucoma by lowering intraocular pressure either with eye drops, laser treatments or possibly surgery.

Monitoring the condition of your eyes from year to year is crucial.  It will ensure that any potential problems such as Glaucoma or Macular Degeneration will be diagnosed early – when treatment is most effective.

Contact Us Today if you would like to book your annual eye exam.


What is a Behavioural Optometrist?


This would certainly be one of the most common questions we get asked at Eyes By Design.

Behavioural Optometry is about making sure:

  • that the vision system has the developmental maturity, strength and stamina to meet every demand on it;
  • that the vision system is in harmony with all other body systems; and
  • that the outcome of the vision process satisfies in a comfortable and sustainable way, all of a person’s social and personal needs for intellectual and physical achievement.

A Behavioural Optometrist is a holistic practitioner. They look at how the eyes interact with the rest of the body and vice versa, rather than assessing a client as a ‘pair of eyeballs’.

More often than not an eye check with a general Optometrist involves asking you to read letters on a vision chart to determine your ability to see an object clearly from a certain distance. They will check the health of your eyes to rule out diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Often functional visual skills and visual processing skills such as: eye movements, eye teaming, eye focusing, tracking, visual memory, spatial awareness and depth perception may not be considered. This means that problems in these areas are missed in many tests by optometrists.

The Behavioural Optometrist Difference

A Behavioural Optometrist on the other hand, has had all the general training of an Optometrist, and can look after all of the regular eye concerns like corrective spectacles and diagnosis of eye disease. However, they can also test for additional things – the things that many other eye care professionals miss! Behavioural Optometrists know that the way you interpret what you see does not depend solely on how clear your eyesight is!

Behavioural Optometry Boys

If a visual functioning or information processing problem is found then there are more treatment options available at a Behavioural Optometrist than just glasses. At Eyes By Design for example we offer vision training and vision therapy. If the problem is better treated by another practitioner, for example a Speech Therapist or Occupational Therapist, we can provide a referral to who we feel may be able to help.

Most consultations provided by Behavioural Optometrists, including the initial consultation, attract a Medicare rebate. At the time of examination, your Behavioural Optometrist will be able to advise you of any associated fees and charges that will not be covered by Medicare. Learn more about Behavioural Optometry and how we can help

Vision Training and Tutoring

Behavioural Optometry 1

How do vision training and tutoring complement each other?

Tutoring can be a very effective way of assisting children to progress with their school work. As with anything, extra education, practise and time spent on an activity will usually help the learning process and result in improvement. However, for children who are having problems with their eyes or vision, the progress made with tutoring can be minimal or slower than it needs to be, that is until the vision issues are treated.


Vision Assessment and Diagnosis

At Eyes By Design all children are assessed by Dr Nicholas Altuneg -Behavioural Optometrist. We can diagnose and treat a wider range of conditions than the average optometrist, and have experience working in more complicated children’s cases, such as children who have ADD / ADHD, autism, aspergers, gifted children and more.

At Eyes By Design we often see children who have struggled with school work for quite some time and have had ongoing tutoring, but are still making little progress academically. Sometimes it is found that the child requires glasses and would benefit from vision training. 

What is Vision Training?

Vision training is a program of therapeutic eye exercises and activities that are designed to improve the way the brain, eyes and body work together.  Visual information about the world enters our eyes, and then travels to the brain for processing – this is how we see. When you consider that 80% of the information that we take in about our world is done through our eyes, you can appreciate how important it is that the whole visual system works well, especially for children who are learning and developing.

For some parents having a break from tutoring and committing to a 12 week program of vision training can seem a big step. We understand that ultimately parents want their children to do well at school activities and they may think that tutoring is the logical avenue to take. However, a child will not be able to get the most out of their tutoring until they are using their visual system properly.  Some parents also make the decision to do them simultaneously.

In some cases the eye or vision problems have been the cause of the difficulty at school, and getting an improvement in academic performance will require work with the visual system. If we can treat the vision problem with vision training, you may find that learning problems are minimized significantly because for the first time your child can use their vision to its full potential to take in information.

Do you know a child that could benefit from a vision test, or perhaps a Vision Training program?