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Cute teddy wearing glasses

Children.

Being able to see clearly is important for a child’s overall development. Happily, most children have excellent sight but if there are problems and they are not picked up at an early age, a child may have permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes.

Looking After Your Childs Eyes

Some children may have vision screening done in pre-school or the reception year which is great. However, if you have concerns about your child’s eyesight before this time don’t hesitate to visit us for a consultation. This is especially important if there is a history of squint/lazy eye or needing strong glasses at an early age in the family. Don’t expect your child to tell you if there is a problem – children will assume that the way they see is normal.

The signs you should look out for

ophthalmology visual chart
Little girl having an eye exam
Little boy having an eye exam
  1. One eye turns in or out, often more obvious when the child is tired

  2. They rub their eyes a lot (except when tired, which is normal)

  3. They have watery eyes

  4. They are clumsy or have poor hand to eye coordination

  5. They avoid reading, writing or drawing

  6. They screw up their eyes or frown when they read or watch TV

  7. They sit very close to the TV or hold books/objects close to their face

  8. They have behaviour or concentration problems at school

  9. They have unexplained headaches

  10. They complain about blurred or double vision

Young girl wearing sunglasses

Protect your child’s eyes from the sun

Because children tend to spend a lot of time outside, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun. Studies suggest that prolonged exposure to UV light may increase your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

May sure your child’s sunglasses have UV protection and carry the British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013) or CE mark. You can also protect your child’s eyes by making sure they wear a hat with a brim or a sun visor in bright sunlight

Myopia Management

Around a third of people in the UK are myopic (short-sighted) where distance vision appears blurred. The condition usually starts in childhood and tends to get worse until the eye has stopped growing but can also develop in adults. People are more likely to become myopic if their parents are also myopic.

Symptoms of Myopia

If your child is myopic they will have problems seeing things in the distance clearly without glasses or contact lenses but don’t normally have trouble seeing things close to them.​

How Myopia is treated

Myopia is usually easy to treat with glasses or contact lenses. There are also some new treatments that may slow down myopia during childhood and this is called Myopia Management.

Myopia Management

If a person has a high level of myopia they will be at slightly greater risk of having reduced sight later in life due to conditions such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and retinal degeneration. It is because of this that much research has gone into methods that can slow myopia progression in children. Results are encouraging.

Myopia management spectacle lenses.
  • These are specially designed spectacle lenses that have been shown to slow myopia in children on average by 60%. The spectacles have to be worn full time for the lenses to work best. A myopic eye is an eye that grows more than it should and these lenses aim to slow this growth.
     

Myopia management contact lenses.
  • Similarly, these contact lenses have been designed to slow the growth of the myopic eye and therefore slow the progression of the myopia. Again, they have to be worn full-time (10 hours a day) but not at night.

There is also evidence that spending as much time outdoors as possible can slow progression of myopia, particularly between the ages of 5 and 12. This is because the eyes are more relaxed when outside as they focus on distant objects. Natural sunlight is also thought to have a role in encouraging the eyes to develop in the correct way. Time spent on devices when inside where the focusing distance is much closer should be limited.

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