Back to school eye care advice for your child

We know it can be a really busy time getting children ready to go back to school, but it’s important that you remain vigilant and are aware of even small changes in your child’s eye health.

Children won’t necessarily say ‘I can’t see that’ or know what is normal when it comes to their vision. Optometrists can play a significant role in detecting and recognising conditions that may affect a child’s sight by ensuring children receive the appropriate vision tests early enough to make effective treatment, if needed, possible.

Many parents used to have sight tests at schools and there’s an expectation that it will be the same for their children. However, sight tests are very rarely carried out in schools today, and screening should not be confused with a full eye examination. Problems with vision can hinder a child’s development which is why we encourage parents to remain vigilant to any changes and to book an appointment with their optometrist if they notice anything that concerns them.

If you are worried your child might have a problem with their eyes then they are never too young to have them examined. It’s essential that any problems are picked up at an early stage when they are more likely to be treated effectively.

Examples of vision hindering a child’s development:

  • Being short-sighted might prevent the child from reading the whiteboard correctly
  • If a child is colour-defective, they won’t be able to see colours correctly which could mean they have trouble using colours, for example, in art lessons they may use the wrong colour for the sky or grass
  • Having a lazy eye (an eye with reduced vision) or being long-sighted can cause the child to have poor hand-eye coordination – this can be problematic in sports lessons
  • If a child has a lazy eye it can often affect the child’s 3D vision which can again affect hand-eye coordination

If a child is long-sighted, they might struggle with work at close range such as handwriting, reading and concentrating on small print and tasks requiring close focus – in some cases the child’s inability to read something has led to a misunderstanding of the child’s intelligence