Looking after your children’s eyes
Children’s eye care is an important part of our business, and one we take very seriously. Many parents ask us what problems they can expect with their children’s vision and what signs they should be aware of. We have set out below the main refractive errors. These are seen in almost 20% of children.
Myopia or nearsightedness means that the child can see objects close to them, but not far away. It is the most common error but is usually not present at birth, developing when the child gets older. Signs to look out for include headaches, nausea after reading, writing with the head very close to the book or holding the book very close when reading.
Hyperopia or farsightedness is the opposite of myopia in that the child can see things far away, but has no problems with closer objects. They may show a lack of interest in school, have difficulty reading and may rub their eyes or squint.
Astigmatism is caused by the curvature of the cornea being greater in one axis than the other. This results in decreased vision. Signs for this problem include difficulty in reading and fatigue, as well as headaches and eyestrain.
Amblyopia or lazy eye is a condition where, for various reasons, there is decreased vision in one eye. It is preventable providing the underlying cause is treated before the age of 6.
Strabismus or crossed eyes is caused by the misalignment of the eyes. They may turn inward, outward, up or down, and this may occur in one or both eyes. Under 6 months of age this may be normal, but should still be checked. Signs to look out for include, an inability to judge distance, squinting, dizziness, closing one eye or observing the eyes moving inward or out.
Children’s vision should be checked on a regular basis, throughout childhood. The eye examination is free under the NHS for children up to 16 or up to 19 for those in full time education.
Should corrective spectacles be required, EyeCare Opticians have a range of completely free frames and lenses under the NHS voucher scheme. We also have Action Man, Barbie and similar ranges available for a small extra payment.
Sports – protecting your child’s vision
If your child needs spectacles, some sports or activities may need more protection for the eyes.
Contact sports, such as rugby or football, need frames that will not easily distort or break, and lenses that are shatterproof (the standard plastic lens can still break if the impact is hard). Swimmers will need goggles so that they are able to see clearly while in the water.
We have a range of goggles and protective eyewear and can offer advice and help to make sure that the correct amount of protection is applied.