Glasses & eye exams for children

A child’s eyesight is perhaps more important than anything! Children’s visual development affects not only academic progress from the day they are born but also how they interact socially and to some extent coins their personalities and who they grow to become.

Extensive research has linked visual deficiencies with poor performance at school, with sports and with social interaction.

For this very reason early visual screening is essential. The earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment. Children‘s eyes are almost fully developed by the time they are 8 years old so it is very important to have any problems detected before this.

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Do children need glasses?

Too much exposure to UV rays, especially sunlight reflected off sand or water, can lead to chronic eye disease. Protect your precious peepers with these sun-blocking tips.

Fortunately, most children don’t spend all day in the bright sun and they naturally protect their eyes from high light levels by squinting. However, eye protection is particularly important for children who spend all day on the water or at the beach, where there is intense glare.

Advice & tips

  • Buy sunglasses that block the maximum amount (99 to 100%) of both types of UV-A and UV-B rays, fit closely to the face and have larger lenses for more coverage.
  • In addition to sunglasses, wear a hat to reduce overall exposure to UV rays.
  • Don’t look directly at the sun.
  • Not just any sunglasses will do, though. Putting low-quality sunglasses on your child is worse than his wearing no glasses at all. This is because poor-quality sunglasses can cause your child’s pupils to dilate – therefore letting more UVA and UVB rays in, without offering the protection.
  • For very young children limit the amount of time spent outside during the peak sun hours (11am to 2pm)
  • If your child is open to wearing sunglasses, let him/her help pick them out so they’ll be more likely to wear them … and make sure you wear sunglasses too, because they’re probably eager to copy you!
  • Many people like polarized lenses, which reduce glare. Also remember to replace sunglasses once the lenses become scratched, and choosing polycarbonate lenses can provide extra impact resistance, if your child will be wearing them for sports/outdoor activities.

Visit Hatchend Eyecare Optomotrist to try our latest range or let us measure your child’s current sunglasses on our UV meter!

It is particularly important that children are taken to have their eyes tested. In 2002, for example, 12 per cent of children were found to have undetected visual problems. Studies have shown that undetected eye conditions can have serious effects on children’s educational performance.

A simple eye test is all that’s needed to pick these up and help children to fulfil their academic potential. Even if a child isn’t experiencing problems at school, there are still good reasons to go for an eye test. Some common childhood eye conditions, such as amblyopia and strabismus, are treatable if diagnosed at an early age.

When a child’s visual faculties aren’t working properly, learning can suffer. Put more simply, if children have difficulties seeing what’s on the board or computer screen, they’re far more likely than other children to become frustrated with the whole learning process and consequently

Moreover, starting regular eye tests early on establishes a good pattern for later life. What’s more, in the UK, children are entitled to free eye tests on the NHS

Important information about eye nutrition

It is never too soon to take your child for an eye examination, as optometrists can examine children’s eyes even if they are unable to read letters. You should aim to take children for their first eye examination at least by the time they are three years old, especially if there is a family history of wearing glasses.

Children should have eye examinations at least once every year, and more often, as advised by the optometrist, if they have an existing eye condition. Eye tests for children under 16 are free, and also upto 18 and in full time education. It is important to know that the eye screening children receive in schools is not as detailed as the eye examination carried out by an optometrist. A recent study has shown alsmost a third of schools have no facility for screening their pupils!

If you suspect that your child has a colour vision problem or if there is a family history of colour vision problems then arrange an eye examination with our optometrist. There is no cure for colour vision deficiency but at least teachers can be made aware of this problem and avoid using certain colours in their teaching.

Make sure they eat their greens! Eating certain fruit and vegetables which contain substances called lutein and zeaxanthin help protect against some eye conditions, in particular cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the leading causes of blindness in this country. In particular ensure they eat plenty of broccoli, oranges, carrots, kiwi fruits, mangoes, sweetcorn, grapes, and of course spinach!

When your child is playing certain sports, such as badminton or squash, get them to wear protective goggles so they don’t risk a dangerous eye injury. These can be obtained from our practice and can even have a prescription built in.

Always make sure there is plenty of light when your child is doing their homework so they do not strain their eyes to see. An Anglepoise lamp or an overhead white light is very useful.

Children of any age who are underachieving at school should have an eye examination. Poor vision is very likely to cause problems with reading and writing.

Always protect your child’s sight in the sun. There is increasing evidence to suggest that over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV) can contribute to the development of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and ocular melanoma (eye cancer). On average, people receive 50% of their lifetime sun exposure before they are even 18 years old!

If your child is computer crazy or a bookworm ensure they take regular breaks from such close work.

Children who rub their eyes a lot or who complain of tired eyes and frequent headaches should have an eye examination. Poor vision is a common cause of sore eyes and headaches.

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