We are often asked at what stage a child should have their eyes checked. The answer will of course vary according to individual circumstances, but if there are no concerns and everything appears “normal” then at minimum we recommend an assessment in the kindy year to ensure school readiness and then every year or two after. Many parents assume their child’s vision is fine as they have had a school vision screening and passed – unfortunately these screenings are not going to detect many of the more subtle problems that children might experience in developing a robust and efficient vision system.
As adults we don’t generally think about all the vision skills that we “learn” of develop as most of us can’t recall a time when we weren’t able to do seemingly simple tasks. For example many parents are surprised when we go through the examination process to find that their child is unable to follow a moving target without using their head, or in some cases their whole bodies! Accuracy and good control of eye movements is fundamental to being able to read – to be able to track along the line of print, and move the eyes from one line to the next without loss of place – and of course understanding what is being read at the same time.
One in five school aged children will have some form of undetected vision problems, many of which are not obvious but which can have a significant impact on their learning, education and daily activities. As kids don’t know any different, they assume that the way they see the world is normal. Have a look at the page our website for some of the signs and symptoms of possible vision problems – holdfastbayoptometry.com.au/behavioural-optometry/kids-vision.
And don’t worry if your child is not able to identify their letters or numbers yet – there are many ways of checking vision which don’t involve these skills!