Unlike trips to the dentist or health checks with your doctor which we attend quite vigorously, annual eye exams are frequently overlooked as unimportant. “There’s nothing wrong with my eyesight” is a common reaction.
In reality, there are many eye diseases and problems which do not show any early symptoms and will only become apparent once the condition is quite advanced. By this stage, permanent vision impairment may be unavoidable.
This is especially true for children, who are unlikely to complain even when symptoms of vision impairment are showing! Let’s examine four reasons why your child should have an annual eye exam.
Children Will Not Complain
I know it goes against everything you’ve learnt as a parent, but most children will either be unaware that their vision is compromised or will choose not to speak out about the problem. Infants should always be tested at 6 months, age 3, then annually thereafter to make sure their vision is ready to cope with the demands of learning.
When problems do develop for school children, it’s not uncommon for the child to carry on life as usual. They may not even notice there’s a problem, and are much less likely to vocalise it than an adult would. Instead, they may find a compromise like holding an object closer to their face to see it better.
You Probably Won’t Notice
We’re not suggesting you’re an inattentive parent, but spotting a vision problem from a distance is incredibly difficult. Some issues like pediatric strabismus (misaligned eyes) can be observed, but usually only when the child is very tired or concentrating particularly hard.
Learning and Behavioural Difficulties
Reduced or impaired vision in the classroom can cause all sorts of problems for your child. The hustle and bustle of school can become confusing and indistinct, while critical skills such as reading and writing become laborious, if not impossible.
Like we said, most kids aren’t going to vocalize their problems. Instead, once they realise that reading and writing are so difficult, they can retreat within themselves and become less sociable, unhappy and rebellious. Unsurprisingly, this behaviour is not usually linked to a vision impairment, so it’s difficult for the child to receive the help they truly need.
The Sooner, The Better
When it comes to your eyes, early detection can be hugely beneficial and is often the difference between permanent impairment and complete recovery. By having an exam, the majority of issues which are almost impossible to spot from an outside perspective would be recorded immediately.
This gives our optometrists the maximum amount of time to help your child recover or adjust to their vision impairment. Give us a call and our team will help you secure an appointment to make sure your child gets their annual checkup.