We as parents want to do everything we can to make sure our children are successful in all aspects of their lives. So it is shocking when so many parents overlook something so very important: eye health. In light of this, we here at Modern Mama thought it would be essential to share the importance of regular eye exams and touch on some warning signs to look out for.
When should your child start going to the optometrist?
Most parents are unaware that kids should be visiting the eye doctor as early as 6 months of age. Having regular check-ups when your child is young is a key step in catching any issues as early as possible in order to help correct them. Staying on top of these appointments is important when you consider that 1 in 20 preschoolers have an eye problem that, if left untreated, could lead to sight loss, according to Doctors of Optometry. In fact, All About Vision says 50% of all cases of blindness are actually preventable when you stay on top of your check-ups.
What are some warning signs of visual problems to be aware of?
If you are concerned about your child’s eye care either because, like so many of us, you have let these appointments slide, or you already have a bit of a gut feeling that something more serious is going on, here are a few warning signs to lookout for in your child. Some of these symptoms could mean you should be taking them in to get their eyes looked at:
- Light sensitivity
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Holding objects to close to their face
- Avoiding books and television
- Eyes that turn in or out on a consistent basis
- Excessive squinting and blinking
- Lack of concentration and frustration
- Eye rubbing
- Covering one of their eyes from time to time
- Head tilting or unusual posture
- Omitting or confusing words when reading
- Losing place while reading
Some of these could be a sign of a more serious problem and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure you are keeping on top of those annual or biannual appointments.
How can I prepare my kids for their eye exams?
Being open with them is key to getting through this as a team. Meeting new people can be scary. Telling them who they are meeting, why and what to expect (inform them about eye drops if you are aware they will be used) can be essential to ensure a positive experience.
Bringing a comfort object can be a really great way to help keep your little one comfortable. Even with all the prep, and with you there, your little one might need some extra love. Having them bring something that makes them feel at ease can be a perfect way to get this to go smoothly for everyone involved.
Sunglasses are a big one if you know your child’s eyes will be dilated. This is one of those things that many overlook. Forgetting these can cause a lot of light sensitivity for your child when leaving their appointment – so make sure they are packed!
Showing them visuals can be the perfect way to help prepare them for their first exam. The equipment is much different than the usual stuff they see in a regular doctor’s office, and it can look a bit more intimidating. Take the time to explain what the equipment does so that your kid is well informed and excited to try them out!
We here at Modern Mama hope this helps you with your upcoming eye exams this year. It is important to keep on top of these appointments and thanks to Real Canadian Superstore and its Kids See Free program, more and more families are getting that care at an affordable cost by receiving any frame valued up to $49 and single vision, polycarbonate ‘kids safe’ lenses for free once per year with a prescription.
*Sponsored by The Real Canadian Superstore Optical. All opinions expressed are my own.