The beginning of the school year is a good time to think about getting your child's eyes examined. It is obvious that clear & comfortable vision is crucial for learning and success at school, yet the American Optometric Association estimates that one in every four children has a vision problem. This could be something obvious, such as short-sightedness causing difficulty reading the board; or something more subtle, such as poor eye co-ordination making reading slower and more tiring. An eye test with your Optometrist is the best way to ensure that any vision problems are picked up and treated.
There are a number of signs that may indicate that your child has a vision problem. These include:
- Dislike and avoidance of close work
- Habitually sitting at a table or desk with an awkward posture
- Turning or tilting the head to one side
- Closing one eye while reading
- Taking an unusually long time to complete reading comprehension tasks
- Moving closer to a book, desk or computer screen while reading
- Excessive blinking or rubbing of their eyes
- Losing place while reading; skipping or re-reading lines or words
- Using a finger as a place mark when reading; reading unusually slowly
- Complaints of headache, dizziness and nausea
- Needing to sit close to the TV or board at school to see clearly
- Lack of confidence in group sports and activities
At Cassidy Eyecare, our recommendation is that every child should be tested routinely when they start school at 5 years of age, then again at age 11 or 12 if everything is going well. Any signs or symptoms of vision problems (such as listed above) or reading difficulties should be investigated as they arise. You can find more information on eyesight testing for children both on our site, and at the website of the New Zealand Association of Optometrists (NZAO).