Your Childs Eyes

Children Common Eye Problems
The other group of vision problems among children the ones affecting younger children involve what is known as visual performance. The problems frequently escape detection in school vision tests and other vision screenings.
Things such as not paying attention in class, being slow in learning to read, being withdrawn and not getting along with other children or poor sporting ability may be signs that a child needs vision care.
The following five conditions are among this group of vision problems.
o    Poor co-ordination of the eyes - Both eyes must work as a team. If there are some problems in getting the eyes to work together efficiently the child will subcon sciously have to work hard to force them to act as one. In severe cases double vision occurs and the brain eventually shuts off the message it receives from one eye. If this happens the child may develop amblyopia (a 'lazy eye').

o    Turned eye - For normal vision both eyes need to look at the same object at the same time. When they point in different directions, the brain ignores the message it receives from one eye. Vision does not develop properly in the eye not being used. In many instances eye exercises alone will be able to correct the eye. In other cases surgery followed by an intensive series of eye exercises is necessary.

o    Eye movement defects - To see normally children need to have efficient eye movements. If, for example, such movements are slow or clumsy or unsteady, children will find reading more difficult. They will miss words or lose their place on the page.

o    Poor eye-hand co-ordination - Eye-hand co-ordination is necessary for easy handling of objects within arm's reach. Crooked writing, with poor spacing between the letters and words, and difficulty in staying on the lines may indicate a child's eyes and hands are not working together well. Special exercises can he prescribed to help overcome eye-hand co-ordination problems.

o    Difficulties of focusing control - Some children have difficulties with focusing accurately. Objects may change from being clear to blurry and the child will exert considerable effort while trying to keep them in focus. Some children will be unable to quickly move their focus from distance to near. This poses a particular problem in copying from a distant blackboard into a close book.

Children Eye Checklist
An observant parent can be the first person to detect signs of a vision problem in a child. Things to watch for are listed below. Any one of them could mean that a child has a vision problem.
Appearance of the eyes
•    One eye turns in or out while the other points straight ahead
•    Eyes blinking frequently
•    Eyes frequently red
•    Eyes water
•    Eyes very sensitive to light
•    Eyes screwed up while the child is watching television
Behavioural signs
•    Holds a book very close while reading
•    Loses the place while reading
•    Cannot concentrate for any length of time
•    Positions head strangely when reading
•    Rubs eyes frequently
•    Sits very close to the television set
•    Writes crookedly with poor spacing
•    Leaves out or confuses words when reading
•    Tilts head noticeably when looking at things
•    Covers or closes one eye when reading
•    Complains of headaches
•    Does not recognise familiar people in the distance
•    Complains of blurred vision
•    Complains of seeing double
•    Complains of eyes burning or itching
Rules for reading
•    Read in a room with bright and even lighting
•    Sit up straight and angle the hook toward you
•    Do not lie on the floor and read
•    Take a break from reading every 15 or 20 minutes and look about the room or out the window
Hints on watching television
•    Have a small light on in the room when the tekvision is on. The room should not he totally dark.
•    Place the television so that there is no glare or reflection from lights or windows.
•    Sit at least two and a half metres away from the screen.
•    Frequently look away from the set around the room or out the window.
•    Have the set approximately at eye level. Try to avoid having to look up or down at the picture.
Remember vision is a precious sense. Children need to have regular eye examinations.
Information supplied by Optometrists Association Australia in the interest of the visual welfare of the Australian people

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