As reported this week in The Daily Telegraph, a visit to an optometrist when he was six weeks old saved Aidan Kempen's eyesight.
When his parents noticed something unusual about his left eye, they made an appointment with a local optometrist straight away to have his eyes checked. This appointment revealed a potentially threatening condition if left untreated.
“During the test the optometrist looked into the back of Aidan’s eye and could see that half of his retina hadn’t formed. The condition is called Iris, Retinal and Optic Disc Coloboma,” Aidan's mum, Sasha, told the newspaper.
Although the new parents were shocked by the diagnosis, they were thankful they made the decision to get an eye check.
Aidan’s test revealed his left retina hadn’t formed correctly.
“I look back now and honestly, I was so surprised that the optometrist could know so much about my little boy’s eye from just a simple test. We have been given confidence and tools to help improve Aidan’s vision in his left eye ever since our first appointment,” says Sasha.
“Now that he’s at school, our visits to the optometrist are every six months to ensure we are doing the right training for his peripheral vision,” says Sasha.
“His vision has impacted his writing, so we’ve worked with his teacher to assist with his eye training. For example, we’ve worked together to ensure he sits in a position in the classroom that allows his left eye to strengthen. We’ve also ensured that his tennis lessons are at dusk, as it makes his eyes work a little harder, which we hope will help improve his vision.”
Good vision is important for a child’s educational, physical and social development. With about one in five Australian children suffering from an undetected vision problem, it’s important to be aware of the possible signs of a vision problem to give every child the best chance of reaching their full potential.
Babies will have their eyes tested at birth. As they grow, many leaps in vision occur. Initially, babies learn to use both eyes together and begin by focusing on close objects, such as your face and toys that grab their attention. As their eyes develop, they will start to focus on objects further away and begin to use depth perception. This is a very important time in your child’s development, as they learn and develop the good visual skills they will need in the future.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell how well your child sees, especially when they are very young. Children often assume that how they see is normal. A visit to the optometrist every two years will check that their eyes are healthy and vision is developing as expected.
Sasha says visiting the optometrist was best thing she could have ever done. “There is a big gap between what mums know about eye health and what optometrists can tell them. The guidance has helped our family so much” says Sasha.
To find an optometrist near you, click here.