Singapore may have one of the world’s highest childhood myopia prevalence rates – the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has said that over the past decade, it sees about 65% among Primary six pupils, and roughly 28% for those in Primary one.
“Vision isn’t the first culprit parents think of when their child is struggling in school, but it can be playing a part in their child’s poor school or sports performance,” says Marcela Frazier, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama.
A thorough eye exam can detect a variety of eye conditions that if left untreated in a child could affect eye health later in life, potentially even leading to partial or complete loss of sight.
Here are nine signs for parents to look out for that suggest children may need an eye exam.
Complaining Of Headaches
When children strain their eyes to focus, this causes headaches over extended periods of time.
Becoming Fatigued After Reading
If your child feels their eyes are burning, itching, or tired, this is eye fatigue. It might be difficult to notice these symptoms in a child, but if they are falling behind in reading comprehension or try to avoid reading activities, this might be the culprit.
Poor Sports Performance
If a child’s visual processing seems slower than it should, this might be a sign there is a vision issue. A child with an untreated vision problem might perform poorly in sports due to clumsiness, poor hand-eye coordination, inability to focus or skewed depth perception.
Vision isn’t the first culprit parents think of when their child is struggling in school.
Squinting Or Closing One Eye
Squinting does not damage eyes, but it might be a sign that a child needs glasses. By squinting, a child is subconsciously attempting to make the pupil smaller, therefore letting in less light. This technique enhances a child’s focus that might be potentially blurry.
Blinking Or Rubbing Eyes
If a child rubs their eyes while trying to concentrate on an activity, particularly reading, or while being active, it could also be a sign that the child has a vision problem.
Poor Reading Ability And Comprehension
Good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. If a child seems disinterested in reading, is sidetracked easily, does not understand material read, or reads the same sentence multiple times, it might be time to schedule an eye exam.
Poor School Performance
It is important for parents to remember that children do not have a concept of poor vision, so they might not always tell you when they cannot read something their teacher writes on the blackboard. As a result, their grades can suffer.
Holding Electronic Devices Or Books Too Close To Eyes
It is a myth that sitting too close to electronic devices can hurt your eyes, but if a child is sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to their face, it might be a sign of a vision problem. Leaning closely in to read text or see images on the television might often mean a child is living with nearsightedness.
Losing Their Place While Reading
Using a finger to track the words can be typical behavior for a child who is learning to read, but it’s also a good idea to pay attention to this behavior — he or she should eventually be able to focus on the words without losing place.
Most schools here conduct an eye exam once a year, however, if your child hasn’t started school or has missed a school arranged eye exam, and you’re concerned, you can make an appointment with the National Eye Centre, polyclinic or a private ophthalmologist.
The article was written together with AFP Relaxnews; leisure news agency, with news on upbeat, practical and entertaining subject matter on a worldwide basis.