Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: Why is it important for my child to have their eye's tested?

While I am away on vacation, I will have some guest bloggers posting for all my readers. I hope you enjoy, and I may just pop in for some updates and pictures while in Scotland!

Why is it important for my child to have their eye's tested?

Getting your child’s eyes tested is extremely important and more important still is ensuring they get their eyes tested as early as possible. A skilled Optometrist will see your child from as young as 2 years old so you should not be worried that they are too young.

Below I have listed my top 3 most important reasons that you should take your child for an eye test:

 1. Check their vision is developing: The first 7 years of your child’s life are critical in their visual development. Beyond this age it is virtually impossible to correct a lazy eye. During an eye examination your Optometrist will be assessing to see if your child has a lazy eye and also checking to see if they are at an increased risk of developing a lazy eye. If either of these apply, your Optometrist will act accordingly in the best interests of your child. A lazy eye is an eye that even with the best possible eye glasses will only be able to see partially down the eye test chart. A lazy eye can only be treated by your Optometrist if it is picked up below the age of 7 years old (the earlier the better) and is not treatable with laser eye surgery as people wrongly assume.

2. Check their eyes are working together: Your Optometrist will be carefully assessing your child’s ‘muscle balance’ which effectively means how well their eyes work together. If your child is found to have a ‘turn’ in their eye, this will require either full-time glasses wear or possibly eye surgery (this is different to laser eye surgery). If your child’s strabismus (turn in the eye) is left untreated or picked up beyond the age of 7 years old, then the eye that is turning will be permanently lazy. As well as this your child will have very poor binocular vision which is essential in judging depths and distances. Poor binocular vision will mean your child will struggle with fast moving ball sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis and American football. In addition to this, your child will not be able to see in 3D which means they will not be able to enjoy 3D films at the movies! If the strabismus is picked up early enough and either treated by surgery or with glasses, then it is possible that some binocular vision will be saved.

 3. Health of their eyes: Just because your child is young does not mean they are immune to developing eye diseases. The most serious type of eye disease your child could develop is Retinoblastoma, which is a fast growing cancer of the eye. This can be easily picked up by your Optometrist during a routine eye examination. For this reason, even if you think your child has perfect eye sight you should still take them for an eye examination as early as possible.

 This article was provided by Tim, an experienced Optometrist from the UK. Tim works as a full time Optometrist and sees a great number of children. He also writes useful information for his own website TreatmentSaver. Tim’s take home message from this article is as follows: Taking your child for an eye examination should be right at the top of your list of priorities. Don’t assume your child’s vision is fine as often parents may think this is the case only to be shocked that their child has a lazy eye. Providing we see your child early enough (from as young as 2 years old) most visual problems can be corrected giving your child the best chance of achieving success in both their academic and sporting activities.

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