PARENTS have been urged to take their children for a vital test before school term time starts.
Due to the increased amount of time children spend in front of the screen, professionals are noticing an increase in eye issues in children.
They are particularly seeing more eye strain and short-sightedness (myopia).
Khuram Sarwar, an optician at Feel Good Contacts, recommended parents book an eye appointment for their child as soon as possible.
Sarwar says that delaying an eye-health check-up can be dangerous because any vision changes can seriously affect learning.
With children heading back to school in September, any undetected issues could affect their vision, concentration, and performance.
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Optician Sarwar has also given out some extra tips and tricks for parents to help kids with their eye-health.
He said: “Before school starts for the autumn term, it’s important to establish a good bedtime routine that doesn’t include screen time.
"Getting enough sleep is important for staying alert during the school day, so gradually start to limit screen time.
"The blue light emitted from screens causes digital eye strain, headaches and hampers sleep as it tricks your body into thinking it’s still daytime keeping you awake.
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"Use the extra time you have with your child to talk, read, and do eye yoga together.”
But how do you spot eye-health issues?
The expert's have told parents to look out for the following five symptoms in particular:
Your child may read slower than usual, make numerous mistakes whilst reading the text, skip words or perhaps, jumble the order of the words while reading.
They may also hold the books closer or further from their face which are commonly signs of dyslexia.
If your child is squinting continuously then you should take them for an eye-check.
They may avoid reading, especially when reading something from a distance.
Another common act is that they try to see from the corners of their eyes or tilt their head to help focus on an object.
White or greyish-white pupils can sometimes be a sign of cataracts, corneal ulcer, retinoblastoma (eye cancer in children) or uveitis.
This will often affect your child’s visual clarity and likely their academic performance.
If your child's eyes turn outwards, look crossed or don't focus together then it may affect their learning.
Crossed eyes are usually a sign of strabismus (misaligned eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye).
This will affect the child’s visual acuity, particularly as the distance between objects and viewpoints change.
For example, when doing sports and tracking a flying object such as a ball.
Experts note, however, that babies of up to four months may have crossed eyes as they learn how to use their eyes.
This movement symptom will greatly affect a child’s hand-eye coordination and they may have difficulty writing or playing sports.
It is characterised by their eyes fluttering quickly from side to side or up and down.
They will also have trouble keeping their eyes on one target and may move their eyes from one object to another or along the page to read.
Watery or red eyes
Watery, itchy or red eyes are common symptoms of eye infections, such as conjunctivitis.
These are caused by irritated substances coming in contact with your child's eye.
You may notice that they rub their eyes frequently to relieve itchiness and irritation.
Some children may have eyes that are overly sensitive to light.
However, this could be a sign of many conditions including cataracts and epilepsy.
Other children may frequently report that they have a headache.
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Ali Mearza, Ophthalmic Consultant and Co-founder of OCL Vision commented, “More often than not, your child may just need a pair of glasses to help them see clearer and reduce eye strain. More serious problems are rare but outcomes are better if problems are picked up and managed as early as possible.”
Mearza concluded, “If you spot any problems with your child’s eyes or vision, then you should visit an optician or GP to deal with the matter promptly before the condition exacerbates."
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