Eyesight is something that all too many people think about until the day they realize the words on the computer screen are getting smaller and smaller. As the saying goes, “We never appreciate the good things until they are gone.” This is how vision is for far too many people.
As a parent, you probably take your child to the doctor when they are sick or injured playing a sport or to the dentist to have their teeth checked every six months, but many parents seem to forego the eye exams. Unless a child has a serious problem with vision or the parent can see something that doesn’t seem to look physically right, like a lazy eye, many will never take their child to see an eye doctor.
Perhaps they believe a child has perfect vision and doesn’t need to see an eye doctor, or maybe they just don’t realize their children could have any problems with their eyes at such an early stage in life.
Childhood, especially early childhood, is the best time to begin regular eye care for your child. Did you know that many children have been diagnosed with learning disabilities and as having motor skill problems when in all actuality, they simply needed to have an eye exam and wear prescription reading glasses or corrective lenses?
Some children display early symptoms of eye problems by avoiding play time, including refusing to play with puzzles, not wanting to color pictures and aversion to reading. Things like this can often be directly linked to problems with a child’s eyesight. Scheduling a routine eye exam for your child is not only important, but it can be beneficial to your child as well.
Young children cannot always verbalize when they have a problem with eyesight. A parent will often wait until the child tells them they cannot see well, but if a child has had vision problems for a while, they may not realize that there is a better way to see and it’s possible they will never mention the problem to their parent at ball.
Here are a few reasons to make sure your child is scheduled for a routine eye exam:
Poor vision can cause difficulties with reading books and Smart boards in a classroom. If a child is unable to see the board, they most likely will not be able to effectively take notes in class. If they cannot see the print in a book clearly, it will discourage them from reading. A simple eye exam can drastically change the way your child learns by making sure their eyesight is efficient. If a child has a vision problem, the eye exam can help identify the problem and corrective measures including prescription eye glasses or even reading glasses can be provided. Being able to see clearly, especially in the classroom, can drastically change the way a child learns while in school. It is estimated that there are c close to 13.5 million children, or around ¼ of all students ranging in age between 12 and 17 have vision problems. It is the parent’s responsibility to take the child to an eye exam to have their vision checked.
An eye exam will help check your child’s eyes for issues exceeding blurred vision from reading too long or sitting in front of a computer screen too many hours each day. A screening can also help detect issues including glaucoma, cataracts, detached retina, macular degeneration and other issues that can lead to blindness. Poor eyesight can be properly treated if it is diagnosed early enough and can help ensure your child does not end up with partial or complete blindness. Eye exams are also important for those who have a family history of diabetes and other illnesses that may affect eyesight.
When a person must strain their eyes by squinting to see what they are reading in a book, on a computer screen or on a classroom board, it will eventually cause headaches from the pressure. Headaches can lead to poor sleeping habits, trouble focusing on work at hand and even a poor attitude when working or playing with others. An eye exam can help alleviate the pain of headaches for those who have vision problems related to the pain.
If you are unsure whether your child has vision problems, you can look for some easy to spot signs:
- Squinting to see things
- Frequent blinking
- Reading books close to their face
- Complaining of headaches (this might only be brought up by older children)
- Crankiness (Often, younger children will act out rather than state that they cannot see)
- Cloudy appearance in eyes
- Frequently rubbing eyes
The best thing a parent can do to ensure proper vision in their child is to schedule a routine eye exam once per year. Not all children will exhibit signs that they have failing vision. Some children will lead very normal lives without a parent ever realizing the child has trouble seeing clearly. Others will act out in anger or grouchiness without ever mentioning they cannot see.
Even if a child has perfect vision, it is a good idea to schedule an eye exam to make sure there are no underlying eye diseases or issues that have not been noticed. On top of this, regular checkups that begin in childhood will help set your child up for a healthy lifestyle as they grow up.