“Look at that cat across the field, Sara!”
“What cat Mom?”
“The black cat. It’s right there!”
“Mommy, I can’t see that far!”
Sara hadn’t realized that others could see better than she could. She squinted at the blackboard and had started to get headaches. She hadn’t mentioned it to her mom until she realized that her mother could see better than she could. “I felt so horrible as a mother,” says Eliza, Sara’s mom. “She is only nine, so I thought her eyes would be fine. She never complained.”
Schools offer vision screenings, and although valuable, don’t assume that your child has no reason to visit an eye doctor, even if he passed this test. “A 20/20 score means only that your child can see at 20 feet what he or she should be able to see at that distance. It does not measure any of the other vision skills needed for learning,” says the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
SPOTTING EYE PROBLEMS
- Signs that a child may have vision problems include:
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Is sensitive to bright lights
- Has chronic tearing of the eyes
- Loses his or her place while reading
- Avoids close work
- Holds reading material closer than normal
- Has headaches
- Uses a finger to maintain their place while reading
- Omits or confuses small words when reading
- Performs below potential
- Closes one eye while reading
- Is unable to see distant objects
- Has difficulty seeing blackboard
- Has difficulty reading
You will want to make certain that the area in which your child does homework or close work is brightly lit. And encourage rest breaks from video/TV/monitor watching. Your child also needs to get enough outside activity to keep not only their bodies, but their eyes active.
- Refractive errors mean that the shape of the eye doesn’t bend light properly and therefore images appear blurred. Nearsightedness is the most common refractive error; others include farsightedness and astigmatism
- Nearsightedness is poor distance vision (also called myopia)
- Farsightedness is poor near vision (also called hyperopia)
- Astigmatism is imperfect curvature of the front surface of the eye
OPHTHALMOLOGISTS are doctors who provide comprehensive eye care with medicine and surgery.
PAEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGISTS have special training to treat kids’ eye problems.
OPTOMETRISTS provide routine primary eye care and can prescribe eyeglasses and examine vision.
OPTICIANS fit and adjust eyeglasses.