Monitoring the continual health of your child’s eyesight is a must for any parent. However, until a problem arises, we often ignore this vital part of our children’s well-being.
The importance of diagnosing vision problems at an early age has been stressed by numerous studies in recent years.
Many parents often assume that an optometrist’s examination is taken on by their children’s school system.
However, in many countries, a number of school-age children have vision problems that – if untreated – could affect their learning ability, personality and behavioural development, and, ultimately, could lead to blindness.
While it’s true that schools may provide vision screenings for younger children, one study found that even if a child were to fail such an exam, 50 per cent of parents were unaware of the failure two months after the screening.
Furthermore, these screenings do not adequately test for prevalent vision disorders such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes) or significant refractive error.
Such disorders can, if left untreated, have an economic impact, too – children’s vision disorders cost an estimated US$10 billion (RO3.8m) annually in the United States alone. These issues could be addressed earlier if children were given comprehensive eye examinations, and the sooner they are identified, the better.
A recent study from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US evaluated the status of vision in the US health care system. It recommended comprehensive eye exams as the “gold standard” in identifying potential vision disorders for pre-school children – even though this is something only US three states currently require of their school systems.
Moreover, research has shown that, of children in the nine-to-15 age group, only 10 per cent who needed spectacles actually had them.
Regardless of whether or not your local schools require eye exams before entry into kindergarten, your child deserves to start school without any unnecessary hurdles to academic success. One eye exam could change your child’s academic future forever. In the meantime, watch for these signs that your child may benefit from glasses, and schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.
* Family Features