It’s time to learn how important your child’s eye exam really is
Since we opened our doors, I’ve always aimed to provide excellent children’s eye care. I always had an interest and a passion for this and saw it as an investment in the future.
I volunteered my services at the Royal Free Hospital to gain experience in paediatric eye care, working alongside Paediatric Ophthalmologists and Orthoptists. I was able to network and create a referral pathway into hospital eye-care.
Myself and Sejal also enrolled in a postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Optometry at Cardiff University, to build on our understanding of childhood vision and hone our examination skills.
To make sure our experience could be applied effectively, we invested in a child-friendly environment with proper sight-testing equipment for children, and continually source the best children’s eyewear that we can find.
When my experience improved my daughter’s sight
Last month the investment we made drew dividends when I faced my own personal eye drama with my daughter Meghna.
At her nursery, her teacher mentioned that she was being less responsive and avoiding eye contact recently. I didn’t pay too much attention as at home she seemed her happy, chirpy self. But a few weeks later I noticed Meghna’s right eye turning in when she was tired or focusing up-close; whilst looking at a book, drawing or colouring.
I must admit I panicked. My calm Optometrist hat was replaced with the worried mummy hat and the next morning Meghna was whisked off (I had an imaginary siren on my car roof!) to Perspective so that I could check her eyes.
She received the complete eye test with muscle relaxing eye drops and lots of bribing to cooperate.
It turns out that Meghna is moderately longsighted, and so when she focuses up-close her eye muscles over-compensate forcing her eyes to turn in more than necessary. This was easily resolved by prescribing glasses to correct her sight and keep her eyes straight.
When I brought her glasses home a few days later, she was so excited! She put them on and her eyes lit up.
She said, “Mummy these glasses make my eyes feel lovely.” She has worn them happily all the time, even for gymnastics (they stayed put through all the forward rolls, which is a testament to the wonderful Lookkino kid’s glasses we stock.)
The feedback from nursery has been amazing. They say she concentrates better, is more responsive and participates better in group activities.
The positive impact of a children’s eye examination
It has been an eye-opener for me to see the impact these glasses have had on Meghna. As optometrists we often don’t get to see the day to day impact of wearing glasses on a child’s daily life. Meghna would now be lost without her glasses, and a week later I was anxious about not having a second pair. This time we went for a flamboyant hot pink pair!
A 2017 study carried out at Ohio University showed that moderately longsighted pre-schoolers have a more difficult time paying attention and find it harder to integrate visual perception and motor skills.
Unlike short-sightedness, where the symptoms are more obvious, a long-sighted child is less likely to complain about their vision. But the effect it has on them may manifest in other ways like unusual eye movements and behavioural changes.
We can’t stress enough how important it is for children to have their first eye examination early, between the ages of two and three, and then at regular intervals so that any issues are recognised and dealt with swiftly.
To book your child’s next eye examination, book an appointment online.