The importance of children's eye examinations

When a child is born their visual system hasn't fully developed yet. This happens over time and will stop developing at around the age of seven. Problems such as squints or lazy eyes can disrupt this and slow down this progress. With early detection, your Optometrist may be able to intervene and in most cases prescribe glasses to help improve their visual system.

This is why SoMi Eyecare recommends that children have their eyes tested as soon as possible.

To test a child’s eyes we adapt our eye examinations. A clinical setting can make some adults very nervous let alone a child. Therefore we do our very best to ensure that every patient we see is as comfortable as possible. As they are young, some children may not be as comfortable with letters as others, therefore we have many forms of test charts, from pictures to numbers so that we can assess vision accurately.


Children can find it difficult to express their struggle with vision

Children are notoriously bad at saying if things are blurry or they can’t see so well. So here are a few things to look out for:

  • Straining their eyes

  • Tilting their heads to see better

  • Sitting too close to the TV or holding a book very close

  • Excessive eye rubbing

  • Headaches or tired eyes

  • Closing one eye to see better

  • Sensitive to lights or tearing excessively

  • Falling behind in school

  • One eye turns in or out

  • Overly clumsy and poor hand eye co-ordination

  • A “white reflex” noticed on a recent picture (if this is the case, bring your child to an Optometrist as soon as possible as it could be a sign of something serious!)

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Common eye conditions in children

Long and Short Sightedness

If your child is having trouble seeing things up close, this is called long-sightedness. This means that the light coming into their eyes is focused behind the retina, so the child would need to exert excessive focus and strain to see clearly up close.

If your child’s vision is blurry in the distance, this is called short-sightedness. This means that the light coming into their eyes is focused in front of the retina, creating blurred vision for objects that are far away.

Both long– and short sightedness can be easily corrected with glasses.

Astigmatism

If your child’s eye is irregularly shaped (more like a rugby ball than a football), the light will be focused in more than one place on the retina making it very difficult to view things clearly for both distance and near tasks. Glasses can be used to correct this condition successfully, although it may feel a little strange at first.

Squints or Lazy Eye

Lazy eye is a condition where one eye sees a lot worse than the other eye. This can be due to a higher prescription in the worse eye, or the presence of a squint where the eye turns either in or out. The sooner you have your child tested the more likely they will be able to have good vision (before the age of 7). Treatments of lazy eyes vary depending on the cause of the lazy eye. This can range from wearing glasses to correct the high prescription or squint, or in rare cases surgical intervention is needed.