It’s tough to tell if your child needs glasses; accustomed to the blur, they may not realize they aren’t seeing as well as they should. Poor eyesight may mean that they are missing out on notes the teacher puts up. Not having great vision can also be an impediment to fast reading and may prevent them from excelling in sports. Luckily there are some signs that can alert parents to the need for a trip to the optometrist.
Eye strain often results in headaches. If your child complains regularly of a headache, try to ascertain what they were doing leading up to the symptom. If they have been busy with schoolwork or reading, consider having their eyes tested.
Don’t mistake red eyes and tears for allergies; children who rub their eyes while reading, watching TV or working on their computers could need a pair of glasses.
Another telltale sign is children who sit really close to monitors and TV screens or need to hold books really close or far away in order to read effectively.
Short attention spans and struggling with the hand-to-eye coordination that is required for sports and arts and crafts may also be indicative of a visual impairment.
You can test your children regularly throughout their lives in order to ensure that they are not suffering from poor eyesight which can prevent normal development.
Babies should have their eyes tested at 6 months and then every two to three years by a registered optometrist.
An epidemic of myopia (shortsightedness) is sweeping Asia. 80 to 90 percent of students need glasses during their school careers and a small percentage of these (10-20%) will have high myopia which could result in blindness.
Myopia can be caused by a lack of sunlight or from too much time reading or sitting in front of computer and TV screens. Ensuring that your children eat a healthy diet and spend at least two hours outside every day will help them to develop and maintain excellent eyesight.
Eye exercises are also helpful in maintaining healthy eyes. A really easy and effective exercise to do is this one:
Sit in front of a window. Hold your finger six inches away from the tip of your nose. Focus on your finger and keep looking at it for ten seconds. Now look out the window and focus on an object in the distance for ten seconds. Repeat this exercise ten times. Do this every day to help improve eye function.
Speak with your optometrists about exercises you can do at home to help improve eye health. If your child does need glasses, ensure that they wear them regularly to prevent further deterioration.
Pic by Palinn Ooi