According to Optometry Australia’s 2020 Vision Index report, almost four in five Australian parents believe their child has great eyesight; however, alarmingly less than one in four Australian parents (30%) have never taken their child to an optometrist for an eye examination.
The best way to ensure there’s nothing wrong with your child's vision is to visit the optometrist. If a child is born with vision problems, they're not going to know anything different and assume that they are seeing clearly; which is why it’s no surprise that one in five children live with an undetected vision problem.
It’s vital that parents take responsibility for their child’s vision early on by ensuring they undergo regular eye examinations with an optometrist. It’s equally as important for parents to start educating their child about eye health and what signs and symptoms they should be looking out for to ensure good vision for life.
Educating children - via their parents and teachers - is a key objective of the Good vision for life campaign, as arming children with the knowledge to identify changes in their vision is important.
Not only will it help ensure your child speaks up when they identify issues with or changes in their vision, but it’s also important for them to understand the value of sight and not to take their eye health for granted; particularly given 90 per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable if detected early.
Signs your child may have vision problems
It is important parents are able to recognise signs of possible vision problems in their children’s vision. Some common signs that your child could be struggling to see clearly include:
- Difficulty reading, such as skipping and confusing words, and/or holding a book very close while reading
- Complaints of headaches and blurred or double vision
- Squinting, or having difficulty recognising things or people in the distance
Some fun and educational resources
To help teach children about eye health and prepare them for a visit to the optometrist, here are a few fun learning resources for you and your child to complete at home or for teachers to use in the classroom:
- Eye Guy Model is designed to help parents start a conversation about eye health with their child. Kids can get creative whilst building their very own Eye Guy who can accompany them to their optometry appointments. Download the instructions for free here.
- Dot-to-Dot Eye Guy is another great resource to help parents start a conversation about eye health in their household. Children can join the dots to reveal the Eye Guy character and then colour him in. Download the worksheet for free here.
- Eye Chart Word Making familiarises children with the traditional eye chart by asking them to use the letters in the chart to form words. It’s a great resource to help familiarise your child with the optometry eye chart ahead of their eye examination. Download the resource for free here.
- Parts of the Eye is an educational worksheet designed to teach your child about the makeup of the eye and build their vocabulary. Download the free worksheet here.
Optometry Australia recommends that all children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and regularly (every two to three years) as they progress through primary and secondary school.
You can use our Find an Optometrist search function to find your local optometrist.