seeoptometry 22

It’s a good idea to take your child to see an optometrist before they start school to make sure they won’t have any vision issues affecting their learning.

80% of what your child learns is through their sight.

kids in creek

It’s also a good idea to take your child to an optometrist if you have a family history of poor vision.

Your optometrist will use the eye test to check to see if your child’s eyes are developing properly. Regular testing (every 2 years) means that any changes can be monitored and dealt with sooner.

You can take your child for an eye check before they can read, as children’s vision can be tested at any age.

Pre-school children use their vision to learn about the world around them, and to develop their hand-eye coordination.  Playing with blocks, balls, colouring, drawing and putting together toys all help improve your child’s visual skills.

This is the age when parents may notice a vision problem or the symptoms of one. You may notice your child has crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia). Parents should also watch their child for any delays in development, such as difficulty recognising colours, shapes, letters and numbers, which may point to a vision problem.

Poor eyesight can cause learning and behavioural problems.

Young children may not be able to explain their vision problem, or even be aware they have a problem.

kids reading x 3
You may be able to identify your child has a vision problem by looking for these indicators:
  • Can they see words clearly in a book
  • Do they complain about seeing double
  • Do they close one eye to see or read better
  • Do they squint, or blink a lot
  • Are they having headaches or eye discomfort like blurry vision or watery, itchy, burning eyes
  • Are they sensitive to light
  • Are they rubbing their eyes more than usual
  • Do they often bump into things or knocks things over
  • Have poor hand-eye coordination
  • They hold books very close or sit very close to the TV
  • Tilts their head noticeably to one side.
If your child is at school, you may find these indications of a developing vision problem
  • They can’t see the whiteboard clearly and copy from the child next to them
  • They struggle with homework, or take a long time to finish it
  • Has trouble reading or lose their the place
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Has messy handwriting
reading to child
How parents can help

There are things you can do to help your child’s vision develop:

  • Encourage them to play with other children, toys and games
  • Practice throwing and catching a ball or bean bag
  • Read aloud to your child and show them what is being read
  • Give them art supplies like a chalkboard or finger paints, coloured paper and glue and safe scissors.
  • Play simple memory games with them.
  • Send them outside to ride their bike, or play on swings