As children across the UK skipped out of their school gates and into the glorious prospect of 6 weeks of fun and play, we guess that the state of their eye health was the last thing on their minds. But, as August kicked off this week so did Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month.
All children, even those with no signs of eye health trouble, should be receiving regular and comprehensive eye examinations.
Why are regular eye checks important for children?
The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) issued a comprehensive report, “Children’s Vision and Eye Health: A Snapshot of Current National Issues” detailing the link between healthy vision and the impact it may have on learning.
It reveals that:
- Visual functioning is a strong predictor of academic performance in school-age children.
- Uncorrected refractive errors in infants and preschool-age children are associated with developmental delays, as well as with clinically identified deficits in cognitive and visual-motor functions that may, in turn, affect school readiness.
- Vision disorders of childhood may continue to affect health and well-being throughout the adult years.
Our vision is one of the most fundamental aspects of our learning process, as 65% of people are visual learners. If eye problems are detected early on, children will not struggle in the classroom and beyond, as the report states the likelihood of vision disorders affecting sight in our adult years.
More than one in 20 preschool age children and one in four school age children have a vision disorder, and regular eye checks need to become a priority.
The impact of Digital Health To Children Eye Health
As discussed previously on the Focus Clinics blog, digital technology has an impact on our eyesight; especially that of the nation’s children whose vision is still developing. Parents need to remind children to take a digital break.
Digital technology is not going away and is only expected to become more integrated into our personal, working and educational aspects of our lives. Tablets, phones and TV have all become modern ways to keep our children entertained and involved. The “blue light” given out by these devices when viewing media on our screens not only throws off sleep schedules but also exposes children to a high risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and may increase the risk of macular degeneration.
The eye is not very good at blocking out blue light and virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens to reach the retina. As this light penetrates the whole eye studies show that too much exposure can damage light-sensitive cells in the lining on the back of our eyes. This development causes changes in sight similar to that of someone who suffers from macular degeneration.
What Symptoms To Look For in Children?
- Blurred vision
- Itchy eyes
- Tired eyes
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
If your child suffers from any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, be sure to check with an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Children’s eyesight should become a priority in the earlier stages of their life to ensure potential sight stealing problems are detected early. Regular check ups are recommended.