Eye Check ups for Children
Created by Anurima Updated on May 31, 2020
As I sit and wait for my turn at an eye specialists clinic, there are a train of thoughts that are running through my head. Apparently I am visiting the doctor because my son’s eyes have turned red and there is a slight whiteness at the edge of his retina. Another concern that I am facing with my child is that he could possibly have spectacles number in both his eyes but he is just four years old.
Gone are the days, when it was believed that you get spectacles number as you get older. “The reason for this”, points out Dr Sameer Kaushal, ophthalmologist and vision expert, Parentune.com, “is that the number of detection rates has increased recently.”
It is extremely important for children to get their vision corrected at an early age. (Premature newborns need to get their check up done particularly those with a family history of eye problems or those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined).
Children, who do not get their vision corrected at an early stage, may face permanent vision problems. Listed below are some of the symptoms that you should look out for.
Symptoms that a child is suffering from eye problem:
• Constantly rubbing of eyes due to itchiness
• Reddening of eyes
• If instead of a black pupil you notice slight whiteness
• Dryness in eyes
• Difficulty in reading
• Sitting too close to television
• Children who complain of frequent headaches or are squinting need the eye doctor’s attention.
Going for Eye checkups
Eye checkups are equally important as giving vaccinations to children these days. It is necessary to have a routine check up done. In fact, Dr Kaushal advises, “One should not rely on symptoms and should always go for an annual check up.”
Once the appointment is fixed, the eye doctor will put few drops to help the child’s pupil to dilate. Your child’s vision may blur for some time and it maybe difficult for them to sit calmly with their eyes closed. These drops take about 45 minutes to even two hours to work. This is the time that you have to be patient with them and coax them in keeping their eyes closed. These drops help the doctor to check for any eye problem or nearsightedness known as myopia and farsightedness or Hyperopia.
There is no particular time frame to visit the eye specialist but an annual check up is a must. And just in case you are thinking of visiting an optometrist, if you think your child has only number problem then it is okay.
Picking up the right frame
It is highly recommended that children choose their own pair of glasses. Plastic frames are best for children under the age of 11. Look out for specs with spring hinges as they make a comfortable fit and are more flexible. Many ophthalmologists suggest polycarbonate lenses, for kids. These are tough and impact resistant lenses but can get scratches more easily than plastic lenses ( Interestingly, it’s the same material that bullet proof glass is made of. )
Apart from polycarbonate lenses, there are photo chromic lenses which are high resistant polycarbonate lenses and are useful for kids who are actively involved in sports. These photo chromic lenses darken in sunlight and protect your child’s eye from the bright sun.
Children’s frames should be the correct fitting on the child’s face—neither too tight nor loose. They should be sitting comfortably on the child’s nose and shouldn’t be heavy, or slipping. Young children can wear them with a chain to miminize chances of losing them.
Also, it might be smart to get two pairs made together. Children tend to lose and damage their specs.
Tips for Healthy Eyes
1. It is advisable to take multivitamins and supplements. “Vitamin A helps in keeping eyes healthy”, says Dr Kaushal, “but an overdose of this could also be harmful. There is no concrete proof that by following a particular diet could keep your child’s eyes healthy.” Any problem related with eyes, is but natural.
2. Ensure the child doesn’t watch a screen too continuously or without blinking. Ask him to take a short break, step out in the balcony or open area, and gaze far far away at the skyline, landscape or trees. Green colour is particularly known to be therapeutic so if he takes his eyes off the screen for a few minutes to look at some trees, the damage can be controlled.
3. There are certain exercises that can be done to strengthen the small eye muscles. Ask your doctor for those.
Like every parent, we always tend to think maybe it’s my fault. I didn’t take care of him, didn’t give him proper food, and what not. But growing children will always have problems and we need to support and help through them.
| Jun 18, 2014
nice tips! getting specs has become a problem in very early years of kids. I believe we as a parent have to encourage kids for more outdoor sports activities as well. This keeps them away from the screens, they are hungry enough to have proper diet without any tantrums.
| Aug 01, 2014
Hi Meenal, what kind of squint it is will determine the treatment. Most squints can be taken care of with simple surgical procedures. Ideally, you should go to an opthalmologist and he will guide you whether the age of your child is ok for a surgery and what kind of surgery.
| Jun 04, 2020
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