Opticians are noticing an increase in eye issues in children, in particular eye strain and myopia (short sightedness). There’s no better time to check out your child’s eye health than at the start of nursery or school term because they’ll be using them a great deal in the coming months!
Khuram Sarwar, optician at Feel Good Contacts recommends establishing a good bedtime routine, that doesn’t include screen time. She says: ‘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.’
Feel Good Contacts has a guide for parents to look out for any eye health issues children may be facing:
Difficulty reading: They may read slower than usual, make numerous mistakes, skip words or jumble the order of the words while reading. They may also hold the books closer or further from their face; these can also be signs of dyslexia.
Squinting: They may avoid reading, especially when reading something from a distance. They may also try to see from the corners of their eyes or tilt their head to help focus on an object.
White or greyish-white colour in the pupil: This 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.
Eyes that are misaligned: They may turn outwards, look crossed or fail to focus together. It’s important to remember that this is not uncommon for babies up to four months who are learning to control their eyes. Crossed eyes are usually a sign of strabismus (misaligned eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye). This will affect the child’s visual acuity, in situations such as tracking a flying object, playing with a ball or switching from looking at a chalkboard to a paper.
Red, watery, itchy eyes: These are common symptoms of eye infections, caused by irritating substances coming into contact with the eye. You may notice that children rub their eyes frequently to relieve itchiness and irritation.
Light sensitivity: This could be a sign of many conditions, including cataracts and epilepsy. They may also frequently report that they have a headache.