Eye care is important from an early age. We all want the best for our little ones, and ensuring regular eye exams are a part of that is essential.
The fact of the matter is, eyesight problems are incredibly common in young children. Around 4 in 10 children require some form of vision correction, which highlights the importance of identifying when an issue may arise.
Considering the amount of technology available, all of which competes for children’s attention, from YouTube and Netflix, to games consoles and mobile phones.
But it can be difficult to pin down when a child’s eyesight is below standard. Whether it’s a lack of communication skills, or them simply just ignoring the problem, spotting when a child may need assistance is a real challenge.
Here are some of the ways you can tell if your child needs glasses:
● Squinting . This is the first sign to look out for if you suspect your child might have poor vision. By squinting, the child is trying to focus their eyes on an object, which may, temporarily, work.
However, this is an example of a refractive error, which happens when the shape of an eye prevents light from focusing on the retina. Whether that’s a result of the eye being elongated or shorter than the ideal shape, affecting light within the eye weakens the ability to focus.
This can result in being both near or long-sighted, depending on the different shapes that can occur. For example, it’s common for people with Astigmatism- a condition in which an abnormal curvature of the cornea can cause two focal points to fall in two different locations - to be short sighted.
● Sitting too close to the TV . This is often the position where we worry the most about our children. Sitting too close to the TV can be harmless, they might just want to get a better view of Peppa Pig! But once they start complaining about visibility after being moved further away, there’s a sure sign of vision needing attention.
In all likeliness, they’re suffering from short-sightedness, which makes objects further away seem blurred. Once the object is moved closer, it becomes clear again.
● Rubbing eyes excessively . Vision problems can be identified in adults as well as children by this simple cue. Rubbing the eyes excessively indicates that eyes are being stressed to the point where they become tired or are aching. The cause of this could be one of many different things, not specifically related to correcting vision through wearing glasses, but could indicate allergies or other conditions.
● Headaches or eye pain . If you’re a glasses wearer yourself, you’ll be all too aware of the time it can take to get used to a new prescription. Sometimes simply changing the frame we wear can be enough to cause significant amount of stress on our eyes. This is the same for children, who may be putting too much pressure on their eyesight by straining them all day, resulting in fatigue.
Now these are just a few of the things to look out for when it comes to looking after children’s eyes, all of which can be helped or prevented by seeing a professional optician from an early age.
Most schools, including some pre-schools and nurseries, are visited by healthcare teams that carryout developmental checks, including on the eyes. While these may flag up some issues, the equipment that a trained optician will have access to can provide a much clearer picture for parents.
It can also help diagnose any behavioural issues that are occurring, as it must be incredibly frustrating for a child not to be able to see in the same way their friends do, whilst completing tasks set by a teacher, for example.
We hope this highlights the benefit of booking eye tests from an early age. Getting your children into the habit of visiting an opticians regularly will soon make trips much more comfortable. There may even be a sticker waiting for them at the end (and for the adults too…).
While we’ve highlighted the importance of children visiting an opticians, it’s also equally important for adults to make the trip too.
Getting a regular reminder isn’t sometimes enough for those amongst us who are too busy, or simply forget to book in every 1-2 years for a check-up.
But the benefits of visiting can be significant for your overall health, not just your eyesight.
Well, when you visit the opticians alongside the usual minor eye conditions or infections that may be flagged up, the optician will check your retina and visual system to ensure the health of your eyes as a whole.
In fact, 1 in 5 people are unaware of the problems that opticians can uncover during an eye exam.
This can result in some serious conditions being spotted before you may have experienced any symptoms.
Let us take you through some of the conditions that can be spotted by visiting an opticians :
Yes, diabetes can be spotted by getting a regular eye exam. When your optician is taking a closer look at your eyes - it’s likely you’ve seen the picture flash up on their screen - one of the things they’re looking for is a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
This is when diabetes begins affecting the small capillaries in the retina o the eye, which then begin to leak blood or a yellow coloured fluid.
It could be that this is the first time you’ve heard about the issue, as it can show up much sooner than other symptoms when diagnosed with diabetes.
As with testing for diabetes, opticians are also on the lookout for any signs of high blood pressure. They can identify this by the blood vessel walls thickening, narrowed vessels and restricted blood flow. It could also be that the eye is inflamed or blood vessels displays signs of tearing.
This is called hypertensive retinopathy, and again is easily spotted by visiting an opticians.
This can be diagnosed by looking at the cornea, which will appear to have a yellow tint. Usually this goes alongside small bumps, or plaques, of cholesterol being present in the blood vessels, and can lead to temporary loss of vision.
Eye exams can uncover signs of cancer, not only in the eye, but also in the brain. Swelling, changes in the appearance of the eye or pupil, or the structure of your eye changing can all indicate that you may need to visit the hospital for more thorough examinations.
While this is obviously concerning, it’s better to find out at this stage rather than waiting for symptoms to appear.
The amount of checks carried out when you visit a professional opticians are extensive, which means it makes sense simply to book in and make sure everything is as it should be.
Often, people visiting the opticians are simply due a check-up which results in a new prescription.
For those of us that already wear glasses, while a trip to the optician may feel a little daunting, the thought of getting new glasses is completely the opposite.
When you think about it, we wear them every day, usually for around 12 months. In that time we could have bought a new wardrobe a few times over!
With the huge range of prescription glasses that are available nowadays, you’re spoilt for choice whenever you visit the opticians.
Plus, you can book an appointment to get your designer glasses online, just by visiting our website.
And while it may be a treat for adults to visit an opticians and get a new pair of prescription glasses…parents, it’s your job to make your kids just as excited!
There are a range of different shapes, styles and colours available for children, all of which encourages them to visit.
We hope this went some way to guiding you through the advantages of booking in with an optician from an early age. The health benefits alone are reason enough to come, and with an added incentive for those who might be apprehensive, it can be much more inviting than other appointments you need to make!
At David Paul Opticians, we offer professional eye care services and designer frames for customers in Berkhamsted and across Hertfordshire. You can count on our experienced opticians to tailor our services to meet your eye care needs.
In addition, we stock the latest designer frames, quality contact lenses, and sunglasses, the majority of which can be made to your prescription in a matter of hours.
So what are you waiting for? Book in with our team today.