Thursday, 25 May 2017

Parenting - A Reminder to Keep An Eye on Your Children's Eyesight...

Parenting is so much in line with the 'when it rains it pours sentiment.' In times of illness, one sick child can lead to many. When it comes to mess, the more kids you have the bigger the chaos and so it seems too, that when it comes to health issues such as eye problems, we can apply this same analogy here as well.

I wanted to share a post about the importance of getting your kids' eyes checked as very recently, three of my six kids have come to need the assistance of glasses to improve their eyesight. It all happened within the space of just a few weeks in one big hit to the pocket!

I had an inkling earlier on that all was not well with my youngest son's eyesight. In grade two, around midway through the school year, (last year), he had begun to complain about headaches and mentioned that he was having trouble seeing the classroom board. He had even asked his teacher at the time, if he could be seated closer to the front of the class.

Our son has always been a sensitive sort who suffers from eczema and along with it, always seemed to have sensitive eyes. The turning point for me however, was with the arrival of the new tell-tale headaches. An appointment with the optometrist was scheduled later in the year after the problem persisted following a few weeks of 'wait and see.'

Looking 'bookish' yet cool in Moshi Monsters glasses!

Sure enough, that very first eye test with the optometrist revealed that our youngest boy had quite a significant eye issue brewing, that had up until that point been undetected. It turns out, he was really struggling to see and was potentially facing glasses for reading, studying and screen-time.

His eye test was a real eye-opener for me too. When it came to my son attempting to read the optometry chart during this test on his first eye, I sat horrified as he struggled to read any of the letters or numbers on the wall opposite him. (For a moment it crossed my mind that he may have significant learning difficulties as he appeared that challenged.) My fears were quashed however, when the optometrist moved onto his second eye with which he ran through the chart, no troubles whatsoever. (Phew!)

Our optometrist decided to adopt a 'wait and see' approach too, as is the usual step with childhood eye issues, which can apparently come and go with young children. Three months were allowed to pass until we were to return to the optometrist for a second check-up.

This time I made an appointment for my 10 year old son also, who had started to complain of sore eyes while reading, writing, using the computer or watching the television. At this check-up, I was shocked to discover that my two youngest sons were both sporting significant eye issues, likely brought-on by screen use. They were both prescribed reading glasses at this session and we were advised that they may be wearing them for at least 12 months, until their eyes are checked again.

While our boys' eye problems may likely resolve with time, it just goes to show how easy it can be to overlook the health of your children's eyes in general, particularly when it comes to younger children. Young kids have a tendency to 'not notice' when it comes to their health, as generally speaking, (unlike older children or adults), they have nothing to measure a problem against, especially when it comes to their eyesight. 

It's not just our kids who are having issues either. Our modern passion for screen use from a young age is apparently hastening the downward spiral of eye health in our children, and optometrists are seeing an increase in the number of children needing glasses at an increasingly earlier age. While there's no need to toss out the screens altogether to combat the issue, there are ways to preserve your kids' eyesight and signs to look out for that may indicate all may not be as it should.

To start, small changes such as limiting screen time for kids can make a difference to eye health in the young. Make sure your children are encouraged to take a regular break from their screens - even a few minutes can be beneficial, to reduce the strain on their eyesight caused by staring at bright screens up close for extended periods. Have your kids do another activity for a short time, or ask them to play outside where their distance vision can be exercised. It can make a significant difference in the long run to the health of their eyesight. 

As far as what to look for where your child's eyes are concerned, there are several things that you may notice, (or be told by your child), that could indicate a problem with their eyesight is present. Just like our own kids, headaches can be a common indicator of eye troubles. Your child may also complain of blurred vision or double vision.

Look for signs that your child's eyes are irritated. Are they constantly rubbing them as if they are tired? Are they blinking frequently? Do their eyes appear red or watery? Is your child tilting their head when looking at someone or something intently, as if to take it all in? Do they appear to struggle to see in the distance, or up close, or do they have trouble recognising easily distinguished features that are far away?

If you have doubts about your children's eyes, take them along to an optometrist promptly for an assessment and then continue to have their eyes assessed at regular intervals, even if no initial problem is detected. Taking care of your kids' eyesight is easily as important as scheduled childhood trips to the dentist, but it's something that can be overlooked. Just like dentistry, early intervention where eyesight is concerned, can potentially prevent bigger problems from developing down the track.

Have you ever had your child's eyes assessed by an optometrist?
Does your child have eye issues? How were they detected?


  1. I must say a great post. As a parent this my concern as well, with mobile phones and excess tv, it is really hard nowadays. We specially have to hide our mobile phones n have locked all streaming apps or games and try to take them out. 123movies gomovies

    1. Thank you! Very familiar with locking the mobile phones! Monitoring it all as they age gets trickier too.

  2. I am a little worried now in regards to screen time and eye health for my kids. I do know that I should be visiting the optometrist for a check up, I do get the blurs sometimes and threading needles is a real challenge these days! I am wondering if screen time is doing my own eyes some damage.

  3. Such an important reminder. I think all this screen time takes it's toll on the eyes of adults and children alike. I love how pleased your son looks with his new specs!

  4. Awesome post and a very timely reminder during these wintery months when the kids do get a bit cooped up inside either watching telly or on their screens.

  5. I have worn glasses since first grade! The teachers told my parents to have my eyes checked. They were spot on. Bravo to you for taking the lead! #brillblogposts <3

  6. My eldest son was getting headaches on a regular basis so we took him to the optometrist, turns out he needed glasses for when he reads for long periods. Thanks for linking up to #MummyMondays.


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