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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

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 Design 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.

Tips to help your Child LOVE their Glasses

Perhaps you’ve recently discovered that your child requires glasses due to certain signs they exhibited at home and at school. They’ve had the eye test and now you need to buy the glasses. Here are some tips to ease them into what will be a new experience, and might even be causing some anxiety.

Your child may fear being teased

The old ‘coke bottle’ glasses, are thankfully, a thing of the past. There are so many styles of glasses on the market these days and you don’t have to break the bank to choose something stylish. If your child fears being stereotyped as a nerd, the great news is that the range on offer today is far greater than when we were children. Added to that, the stigma once attached to wearing glasses is largely gone.

Get your child involved in the process

Let’s face it, some children (and adults too) can be resistant to something new. If your child is allowed to be a part of the decision making process, they’ll be more invested and connected to their new pair of glasses.

At Eyes By Design, we have the largest range of children’s frames on offer on the Central Coast.

Let your child pick out the frames they like

It’s a good chance that what they consider cool is different to what you had in mind! Forget about colour coordination, kids have their own unique ideas of ‘what’s cool’

Choosing the right size

Your optometrist can and should help in this process. Buying a pair of glasses that are comfortable (not to mention appropriate for the child’s age) will go a long way toward your child actually wearing them and not ‘accidentally leaving them at home’

Show your child some role models

Did you know that even glasses have ambassadors? Sure they do! Celebrities from Justin Beiber to Kim Kardashian have been snapped wearing glasses and in doing so, they’ve indirectly acted as a positive agent for wearing spectacles. (not to mention they also make it look cool.) If your child has any reservations about donning a pair of glasses it may help to show that celebs wear them too. And let’s not forget Harry Potter! Harry may well have helped an entire generation of kids to accept that wearing glasses is a good thing.

Getting your child used to wearing glasses

If your child has never worn glasses before they may need to become accustomed to actually wearing them. Consider starting a scheduled time for them to put their glasses on, for the first couple of days it might just be for 20 or 30 minutes. After a couple of days, extend the time to 40 minutes or so. Keep extending the time until your child is wearing their glasses all day. Gradually they’ll become accustomed to wearing them, and if the frames were chosen carefully to fit (as mentioned above) it will make the task so much easier for everyone involved.

Do you wear glasses?

Take the time to explain how much glasses help you and what can happen if you don’t wear them. For example, some people complain of eye strain and headaches when they forget to wear 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.