Most kids are born with great vision. But those who aren’t can quickly fall behind in school and other activities if their limited vision goes undetected. Make sure your children can see everything with the help of this expert advice.
How to know whether your child needs glasses
Dr. Brenda Li, a Toronto-based optometrist, explains that because children don’t have any experience to compare their seeing ability to, there are often no signs to indicate they may have vision problems. That’s why regular eye examinations are so crucial. Fortunately optometrists can use a variety of testing methods to determine a child’s vision, no matter their age. So even if your little one can’t read or even speak yet, they can still be tested. And it isn’t just vision that will be tested. Other health conditions such as a turned or lazy eye can be successfully treated if caught early. If not, Dr. Li advises that permanent vision loss could occur. So it’s not worth waiting!
What could be wrong?
Dr. Li explains that there are a few common vision conditions kids could suffer from:
- Nearsightedness: the inability to see distant objects
- Farsightedness: the inability to focus at far and near
- Astigmatism: an irregularly shaped eye
- Strabismus: a turned eye
- Amblyopia: a lazy eye
Dr. Li advises that nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism can be easily corrected with a pair of glasses or contact lenses. However, strabismus may require surgery, depending on the severity, and amblyopia could require glasses and patching therapy to strengthen the weak eye.
Dr. Li cautions that avoiding the eye doctor is never a safe solution. She warns that one in six children has a vision problem that is significant enough to impair their ability to learn.
More than 80 per cent of learning is done through the eyes, and children with poor vision may find it difficult to focus, which could lead to their being misdiagnosed with a learning or behavioural problem. The development of skills such as reading, copying, hand-eye coordination and social interaction could all be affected if the issue isn’t diagnosed and treated.
What can you do?
All this information may have you suddenly feeling a little nervous about your child’s well-being. But don’t panic! Dr. Li advises that the solution is as simple as making eye exams part of your child’s routine medical checkup. The first exam should happen by the age of 3 and can even be done as early as 6 months. This should then be followed by a yearly exam at your local optometrist.
If you still have questions, be sure to check out Dr. Li’s website for more information.