Back to School | Why Eye Examinations Are Important for Your Child

A survey last year by the Association of Optometrists showed a quarter of school-age children had not been taken for a sight test by their parents. But why is it so important?

Why do I need to get my child’s eyes examined?

Your child’s eye health is, of course, an important indicator of their overall health, but even if there are no concerns, regular eye examinations ensure your child has no vision problems that could affect their school performance and enjoyment of life. Early eye tests are important for several reasons: Not only because we need to ensure the visual skills that are essential for optimal learning are in place – a child who is unable to see what’s on the whiteboard can become easily frustrated – but also because children’s eyes are fully developed by the time they are 8 years old, so any problems must be detected before then. By demonstrating the importance of looking after one’s eyes we also help to create healthy habits that will hopefully mean your child continues to have their eyes tested regularly right through adulthood.

My child can’t read yet – how can you check their eyesight?

You don’t have to wait for your child to be able to read to bring them in for an examination – at Patrick and Menzies we have ways of testing that can be used with preschool children who cannot read, but even if you have no real concerns, we usually advise to bring them in for a full eye test before they start school just to make sure there aren’t any issues with their vision that could affect their early learning.

What should I be concerned about?

Once children start school it can be easier to spot the signs of a possible eye problem. If you notice any of the following, pop in and schedule an examination with us:

  • squinting
  • complaining of headaches or sore or achy eyes
  • hold books close to their face or sitting too close to the TV
  • problems with hand-eye coordination – being unusually clumsy
  • regularly rubbing their eyes
  • complaining that they can’t see the board at school

What can I expect at the appointment?

We’ll be able to work best with your child when they’re happy and alert – so for younger children an appointment straight after school when they’re tired and hungry may not work best, but generally an eye examination can actually be quite fun and interesting for a child. We have lots of different ways to check how well your child sees at different distances, but we’ll also check their eye movement, the back of the eye and how well they respond to light, amongst other things – our optometrists are experienced in making it a pleasant experience for your child and make sure your mind is at rest too.

Should your child need glasses we have an excellent range and are sure to have a style that will appeal, so do give us a ring or pop in to book your child’s appointment – that’s another thing you can tick off the ‘back to school’ to-do list!