How to look after your child’s eye health
The eyes are your child’s windows to the world. They are used to explore the world around them when they are very young, learn more about their environment, and participate in the lessons provided at school and in their peer groups to grow into a fully-rounded adult. However, childhood is a precarious time in which many accidents and illnesses are experienced, including eye-related conditions. To ensure that your child gets the most out of their vision, here is how you can look after your child’s eye health.
Regular eye tests
From dentist visits to vaccinations, it can sometimes seem as though every week there is a different check-up on your child’s development. Regular eye tests on at least a yearly basis are no less important, even if your child appears to have 20-20 vision. Children’s eye tests are slightly different from adults’; for instance, specially designed charts using shapes and pictures might be used instead of the usual lettered charts, enabling young children who can’t read to be tested. It is a good idea to detect and resolve existing eyesight issues before your child starts school so that they will be equipped to thrive in a busy classroom.
Be aware of common childhood eye conditions
In addition to long- and short-sightedness, there are a number of eye conditions that are particularly prevalent in children. A squint is a common condition in which the eyes do not align correctly, causing them to point in different directions. It can be treated with glasses and eye exercises or, if these do not work, surgery to realign the eye muscles. Lazy eye syndrome causes one eye to be weaker than the other, the result being that the child relies more on their ‘good’ eye. Effective treatment for a lazy eye is to wear an eye patch over the strong eye for a part of the day, forcing the weaker eye to work and become stronger.
Be aware of less-common eye conditions
It is also a good idea to be aware of some less-common eye conditions in children so that you are prepared for any eventuality. For example, cataracts are a common condition in people over the age of 65, but they can sometimes develop in children. Childhood cataracts could possibly be caused by genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome and infections picked up by the mother during pregnancy. Cataracts are easily treated with an operation replacing the affected optical lens with a synthetic lens, such as a Panoptix lens. After this operation, many children with childhood cataracts go on to live a full and normal life.
Be vigilant for sight problems
It can be hard to tell if your child is suffering from sight difficulties, so be on the lookout for some tell-tale signs. For instance, if your child suffers from headaches or consistently sits too close to the TV, these could be signs that they are struggling with their vision and would benefit from a check-up with the optician.