11 signs your child needs an eye test

As kids across the country return to school, as many as one in five could have undetected eye problems that could result in learning challenges. Here are 11 warning signs to look out for in your child’s vision.

As a dad whose oldest daughter had her first day of school last week, I went through all the emotions and panic of preparing my little girl for the start of study. 
 
Between my wife and I we labelled uniforms, packed lunch, filled in all the forms, and were ready to go. Or at least we thought.
 
Although we’d bought everything required for her to attend school, we’d overlooked one important step to ensure that she was set up for success in her learning: an eye test.
 
It turns out we’re not alone, with a recent survey from Bupa revealing that 56% of parents weren’t aware of the need for regular eye tests for children.
 
While we had no indication that our daughter had any vision problems, Greg McPherson, General Manager of Bupa Optical, says many conditions which can impact a child’s learning and behaviour can only be found in a check with an optometrist.
 
“Eye disorders are one of the most common long-term health disorders experienced by Australian children. Approximately one in five Australian children have an undetected vision problem,” Mr McPherson said.
Young girl with glasses

“Vision problems can make learning difficult and stressful. This could be contributing to potential learning difficulties in reading, writing, viewing a whiteboard, computer use and other classroom activities.” 

Which is why, he says, it’s crucial children have their eyes tested regularly.

“It’s particularly important for children starting school. If kids have an eye problem at a young age, blurred vision may be their norm so they won’t think anything is wrong and may assume that’s how everyone sees. 

“Most common vision problems among school-aged children can, with early detection, be easily managed or corrected by an optometrist. Eye examinations with an optometrist take only half an hour and are eligible for a Medicare rebate,” Mr McPherson said.

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While an eye test is the most thorough way to identify any vision problems, there are a number of signs that may indicate a child is having problems with their sight. Some are easy to spot, some are a little more difficult.

What to look out for:

  • Frequent blinking, or rubbing the eyes
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Sore or tired eyes
  • Blurry vision, double vision
  • Problems concentrating on, or understanding what they have been reading
  • Difficulties with reading, such as skipping words, losing their place, confusing words
  • Holding things close to read or see
  • Tilting or turning the head when looking at something
  • One eye turning in or out
  • Squinting, or not being able to recognise people or things at a distance.

To find your nearest Bupa Optical store for an eye examination, click here

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