What could be more important than your child’s vision? Time Out Kids speaks to the expert optomotrists and opticians from brand new store, I See Eyewear, about vision screening for kids
How do you check kids’ eyesight before they are able to read?
Prior to conducting any tests, it’s important to have full knowledge of both parents’ eye history. Children below the age of three are checked by a paediatric doctor who will look out for certain eye conditions by assessing their visual tracking abilities. Children of three and above will have a more formal vision screening. There is more than one way to test eyesight, some of which are using picture cards, or the Allen Chart that comprises of easily recognisable pictures, or the Tumbling E chart.
From what age can a child wear contact lenses?
There is no specific age. It is very much a case-by-case basis depending on whether the child is ready and how motivated he/she is to wear contact lenses. Kids as young as eight can wear contact lenses! Typically however, at 13 years of age, a lot of teens like to switch over to lenses, especially the ones that lead a more active lifestyle.
What does an optometrist check for during a child’s eye exam?
For really young children that are below the age of three, a paediatric doctor will look out for eye alignment, eye movement as well as red reflexes. From three and above, the optometrist will look for quite a few issues amongst which are near-sightedness and far-sightedness, misalignment of the two eyes, and Amblyopia, commonly referred to as ‘lazy eye’. Lazy eye is particularly risky because it can happen even when there is no problem with the child’s eye structure and the child can NEVER tell that he or she has a problem. It is a condition that can be reversed if discovered early on in a child’s life. Hence the regular vision screening. The optometrist will also test distance visual acuity and monocular vision (the ability to use each eye separately).
How do I ensure the perfect fit and style of eyewear for a child that fits in with their lifestyle?
No matter what kind of personality or lifestyle a child has, one thing for sure is that his/her glasses need to fit perfectly and be safe. It’s so good to have a lot of choice for kids these days between different materials for lenses and frames.
Always make sure that the optician that’s fitting your child has paediatric experience. The glasses absolutely have to fit perfectly on the face. Purchasing too big glasses will lead to them slipping down the bridge of the nose. Best case scenario this will lead to a change of the child’s visual acuity of the prescribed lense. Worst case scenario is the child starts looking over the glass, meaning we have achieved nothing!
How often should children have their eyes tested?
Children who don’t wear glasses, every six months, much like the dentist visit! Children that are wearing glasses, once a year.