Children’s Eyes – Vision vs Eyesight
There are fundamental differences between vision and eyesight, although most people tend to think of them as the same thing. Children rarely complain about their sight, so it’s important to understand these differences in order to better notice and understand any problems that may arise. Problems with your child’s eyesight or vision can manifest in the way they learn or play if left untreated.
If you think your child is having any sort of problems, don’t wait to book an appointment with an ophthalmologist near you in NSW or Canberra.
It’s important to get your children’s eyes checked at birth and again at 6 weeks. If there are no noticeable problems, you should have your child’s eyesight checked every two years. A doctor will check their eyesight by having them look at a chart with numerals and letters on it. Good eyesight means that your child has clear images forming at the back of his or her eyes. Visual acuity can be tested from near (a reading distance) and far (20 feet). Your child has 20/20 vision if he or she can see clearly from a distance of 20 feet.
A child with 20/20 eyesight does not necessarily have perfect vision. Vision completes more challenging tasks in our daily life than just reading a chart in one light setting. Binocular vision refers to your eyes working as a team. If your child’s eyes aren’t aligned properly, their vision could be poor even if their eyesight is perfect.
One of the most common vision problems in children is myopia, or near-sightedness. Refractive errors like farsightedness and astigmatism are common among children, as well. Refractive errors can be any size and shape-related abnormalities of the eyeball that will affect the normal ability of the eye to focus light to the retina.
Warning Signs in Your Child
Children rarely complain about problems with their sight. It is more common that they’ll experience refractive errors than simple eyesight problems. There are a few warning signs that you should look out for if you are worried about your child’s vision or eyesight, including:
- Losing their place while reading, or using finger to guide the words.
- Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to face when reading.
- Receiving lower marks than usual.
- Avoiding computer because it hurts their eyes.
- Complaining of headache or tired eyes.
- Squinting or tilting head to see better.
- Frequently rubbing eyes.
- Closing one eye to read or watch TV to see better.
- Sensitivity to light or excessive tearing.
- Avoiding activities that require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, such as playing sport or other games.