Ask the optometrist : the signs to look out for that mean your child needs glasses
Does my child need glasses?
It can be hard as a parent to know if and when to bring your child to have their eyes tested. Many of us simply just don't know what signs to look out for.
Recently we asked you what questions you would ask an optometrist and sent them on to Chairman of Specsavers Ireland, Kerril Hickey to find out the answers.
1. How do I know if I need to bring my child in for an eye test?
It can be difficult to tell if your child needs an eye test. Therefore we would always recommend an annual check-up until the age of 18. Obvious signs may be when a child has to sit closer to the TV to read any text, rubbing their eyes due to eye strain, or poor reading of books. If a child regularly takes their homework down incorrectly from the board or has poor handwriting, it may be due to their eyesight. Check in with your child's teacher as they are with them for many hours of the day!
2. Will an eye test detect something like colour blindness?
Yes. Specsavers opticians carry out an 'Ishihara' test for colour defects and this can detect colour abnormalities. This is especially important for certain future career options which insist on good colour vision. Boys are much more likely to have a colour vision problem than girls.
3. Is it different from an adult’s eye test?
The basics of the test are the same but how the eye test is conducted is different. Specsavers appreciates that children's attention span is much shorter than adults, and therefore Specsavers use very specific tests for children to keep them engaged. Children do not need to know how to read to have their eyes tested.
The sooner that vision problems are detected, the better the outcome. Conditions such as squint and amblyopia (lazy eye) can be treated more effectively if they are picked up earlier, which could make a huge difference to your child.
4. My child is anxious about their eye test, what can I do to reassure them?
If they are nervous, we would recommend you, as their parent/guardian, have an eye test and bring them into the exam room with you so that they familiarise themselves with the optometrist and test room experience. At Specsavers, we are always happy to show children the test room when they book their test and speak to the optometrist in advance so any anxiety is removed. We have found this to be a really great way of removing any nerves of having their eyes tested and the child is generally excited as opposed to nervous.
For any parents concerned about their child’s eyesight, ask your child these simple questions:
• Can you see what’s on the board clearly when you sit at the back of the classroom?
• Do you often get headaches?
• Do you find you lose your place while reading?
• Do you rub your eyes a lot?
• Do you get your words the wrong way round when you are reading or writing?
• Do you find it difficult to see things close to your face, when you are drawing or making things?
• Is your handwriting messier than most of your friends?
• Do you prefer to hold books and comics close your face to see them clearly?
• Do you always sit close to the TV?
If a child answers ‘yes’ to many of these questions, then it could be time for an eye test.