By Jacqui Mayhew
Glasses for children may be needed before they start school or at an early stage in their school attendance given evidence from various studies that poor eyesight is often a cause of learning difficulties in children. A 2009 Australian study revealed most children with academic or behavioural problems fail one or more visual tests and US researchers found 60 per cent of poor learners suffered from vision problems. In Australia, undetected vision problems are estimated to affect about 600,000 Australian children which is equivalent to one in four nationally according to the Optometrists Association of Australia (OAA) and earlier testing of children's eyesight is strongly recommended.
The OAA is launching the inaugural Children's Vision Day on March 10 and is calling on parents to look after the health of children's eyes throughout their schooling. OAA Professional Services Manager, Shirley Loh says: "Parents and teachers should watch for signs that a child may have a vision problem, including avoidance of reading and writing, lower comprehension and short attention span. These are sometimes incorrectly suspected as the outcomes of learning disabilities such as dyslexia or attention deficits." The OAA recommends having children examined by an optometrist prior to starting school and regularly afterwards to detect and manage eyesight problems. This can result in early recourse to appropriate vision correction either using glasses for children or contact lenses including the new overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for correcting and stopping the further development of short-sight.
Given the OAA's views, it is timely to note that eye specialists have designed a new sight test application for the iPhone and iPad - the iSight Test - which can be used by parents in measuring the vision of children as young as 18 months. This application satisfies UK and US testing standards and allows parents to check their children's eyesight at home in familiar surroundings where they are likely to perform at their best. Early testing - even using the iSight Test app - can highlight problems and prompt an early visit to an eyecare professional so that the glasses for children or contact lenses can be determined before a problem has progressed too far. And if the problem proves to be that the child is short-sighted, then overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses - worn only while the child sleeps - can solve the problem and prevent the short-sight getting any worse.
Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .