Good eyesight is important for a child’s development, both educationally, (as 80 percent of our learning is visual) and to enable social interaction with other children and adults.
It is recommended that every child has an eye test before they start school. Sometimes parents think that children will have vision screening at school, but this is not always the case and it is not a full eye examination. So, to ensure your child’s eyes are developing normally you should book an eye test before they start school. Children should then be tested regularly to ensure they continue to have good visual development. For some children who wear glasses they may need to be monitored more frequently as their prescription may change as they get older. This is especially the case for any children who are short-sighted (myopic).
Some signs to look out for that may indicate your child has an eyesight problem are constantly rubbing the eyes, closing or covering one eye whilst reading or watching TV, needing to get close to watch the TV, noticing that one eye is turning in towards the nose, difficulty with reading books or squinting to see things that are far away.
Given the lockdown status within the UK some parents may be worried about missing out on regular appointments. If you are concerned, then your optometrist can as the first step arrange a remote consultation to discuss your child’s eyes.
If my child is overdue an eye test, will this harm their eyes?
Wearing a slightly out of date prescription will not cause harm to your child’s eyes. It may in some cases cause the vision to be slightly burred. We do know that progression of short-sightedness can be influenced by whether a child’s spectacle prescription is up to date or not. It is recommended that a child with myopia wears their full up-to-date correction. However, in the current circumstances a few months of not wearing the correct prescription would not have a major impact on your child’s eyes. We suggest contacting your optometrist to schedule an appointment when possible.