Pay attention to your child’s eye care

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One major responsibility of parents is to bring their child for an eye checkup once or twice a year. It is difficult to know if your child needs to see an eye care specialist, but most experts agree that regular eye screening helps to protect your child’s vision and provides helpful information about the health of his eyes.

The first 8 to 10 years of a child’s life is when the major development of his eyesight occurs. It is crucial to correct any refractive errors during this stage. Otherwise, they might never completely regain full function of the eyes as they grow older, despite being given full spectacle correction.

Some commonly neglected conditions are amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’, and refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. These are conditions that generally do not cause any pain, and hence both the parent and child may easily be unaware that there is a serious vision problem.

How to spot eye conditions?

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Fortunately, these conditions are able to be easily spotted through a routine eye test by your optician. Furthermore, some hospitals such as Khoo Teck Puat Hospital offer yearly eye screening packages for both children and adults – so you can book simultaneous eye tests with your child and make it a family affair.

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What are the signs I can look out for?

Fret not, eye problems in children can be easily prevented if detected early on. Do not hesitate to schedule an eye examination if your child shows any of the following signs:

  • Poor performance in school/not wanting to go to school
  • Increased difficulty in focusing or having a short attention span
  • Signs of difficulty when reading and writing
  • Difficulty seeing what is written on the whiteboard/blackboard
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Having headaches, pain in the eye(s)
  • Requiring longer than usual to complete homework/tasks
  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Reduced hand-eye co-ordination i.e. when playing with a ball

For children who already wear spectacles, it is important to note that it is common for his spectacle power to shift as he grows, despite wearing spectacles regularly. It is therefore recommended to bring him for an examination every 6 months or so to ensure you are updated.

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