OVER the years working as an optometrist, I have had a lot of questions from parents about their children’s eye health.
So this month, in preparation for their return to school in September, I wanted to focus on this important issue.
When should I start taking my child to the opticians?
Children should have their first eye examination at around three years old but, if you are concerned, don’t wait until then. The sooner any vision problems are discovered, the better the chances are of correcting them.
How can the optometrist examine my toddler’s eyes when she can’t read?
Opticians can assess their eyes without your child having to read by using instruments to measure the focusing ability and the health of eyes, using shapes, picture books and other materials to help children indicate what they can see and how clearly. We also have special charts for young children who don’t know their alphabet and methods of checking whether the eyes work properly together.
Are there any signs I can look for to suggest there is a problem with my child’s eyesight?
There are a few signs that could indicate a vision problem in children including: sitting too close to the TV, rubbing their eyes repeatedly, complaining of headaches, being clumsy or squinting.
Why is it important to have an eye test before they go back to school?
During the first 12 years of our lives, as much as 80% of learning is accomplished through our vision. But as many as one out of every four children has an undetected vision problem that may inhibit their progress. Experts believe that learning disabilities could be vision related as they may not be able to read the blackboard or text books.
Specsavers Opticas is currently offering free back-to-school eye tests. There are Specsavers stores in Marbella and Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol. To make an appointment or find your nearest store visit www.specsavers.es.