CHILDREN SHOULD ALL HAVE THEIR EYES TESTED
The summer has now for most come to an end and September is upon us. Hopefully everyone has had a great time and the kids have enjoyed their holidays, all ready for school. In our household the eldest is about to embark on his school years and, as I am sure it applies to several other parents, we feel it came about too soon. However, our son seems ready and eager to learn, which is obviously a good sign.
In any case, being in the profession I am the logical thing to do was to check if he can see well to read etc.. It turns out he does but having got daddy’s eyes also means that it looks like he would benefit from glasses. I started wearing glasses in my teens but the fact is that had I had my eyes tested as a child I would probably have benefitted from glasses then. The problem is that children are unlikely to sense themselves that they could do with the extra assistance as they see the world for what it is much more so than us adults.
Fortunately, in Leeds children have their vision screened at an early age, usually in their first year of school. This is helpful in the detection of visual problems, and in particular if there is a big difference between how clearly their individual eyes can see. In turn a recommendation to have their eyes tested may be made. Equal clarity in both eyes is particularly important for good binocular vision which is the basis for judging depth and several other areas of visual performance, and as the visual system develops at its fastest during the early years it is important to have good clarity. In some respect having glasses for some kids is a bit like the tuning a TV screen (of the older kind) and keeping it tuned.
Even though your child has fantastic vision, there is no guarantee of no eye problems. Children’s eyes develop and change rapidly and even if their vision was great at the time of the screening they may develop problems later. Eye tests for children under 16 are free but we see too often that years pass between eye tests when they are at the critical stage of development and therefore the need for glasses is missed. Sometimes this is simply because parents believe the kids need to understand letters before they have an eye test but that is not the case. Colour vision tests can even be done without knowledge of colours.
More importantly, an eye examination at an opticians may detect other eye problems that the screening won’t and also possibly pick up on a range of potential health issues and tumours alike. Proportionally, it is very rare but I have personally encountered serious cases for both adults and children, and very glad that I detected them, though in the end I only did so because they came for an examination, so they are the ones to thank.
Our son cannot read yet but he thinks he can and it is so funny when he ‘reads’ labels (upside down sometimes) for us and counts all sorts of random things. Like a lot of boys his age he is also eager to play any kind of ball sport from football to cricket, likes to cycle and seems to have great hand-to-eye co-ordination in general. It would be a shame if the enjoyment of all that was somewhat eroded by an inability to fully and quickly process what he was doing due to lack of visual performance.
Finding out that he could do with having glasses was easy, the challenging bit is to get him to wear them.