One in every four children has an undetected vision problem which can affect their education in the first 12 years of their life.
A squint – a lazy eye – might be picked up by a parent, but often, conditions aren’t easy to detect. Children rarely flag up problems themselves as they don’t realise that they are seeing things any differently to those around them.
But there are some tell-tale signs, such as sitting too close to the television, rubbing their eyes repeatedly and even, bumping into things – clumsiness could be a sign that they are short-sighted.
Common refractive problems include:
Shortsightedness. The eye is longer than normal or has a cornea that is too steep, so that the light rays focus in front of the retina. Close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurred.
Farsightedness. Here, the eye is shorter than normal, and light from close objects cannot focus clearly on the retina. The words on a page will seem blurry, or it will be difficult to see well enough to do close-up tasks, like threading a needle.
Astigmatism distorts or blurs vision for both near and far objects. It’s almost like looking into a fun house mirror in which you appear too tall, too wide or too thin. It is possible to have astigmatism in combination with myopia or hyperopia.
What can we do?
If you are concerned about your children’s eyes at all, then you should bring them to see us straight away. But even if you haven’t spotted anything, we’d advise a check up from an early age.
Mr Puri says: “We have ways of testing that don’t involve the need to read or even sound out individual letters, and can see your child from the time they can speak – even younger, if you have concerns. We are able to spot certain problems in babies. Please get in touch and speak to our staff if you need to find out more – we’re always happy to advise!”