Because 80% of a child's learning is done visually, it is important to have children's vision examined, especially before they start school. Research shows that 1 in 6 school aged children have a vision problem that if left undiagnosed, can seriously impair a child's ability to learn.
School screening programmes only detect 20-30% of vision problems. The child may pass the "screening" test, but can still have vision disorders that may impair learning. Clear vision helps in learning tasks, but for close vision and in particular reading, other visual skills are needed.
Children must have a variety of scanning, focusing and visual coordination skills for learning and understanding print. If these skills do not develop well, learning becomes difficult and stressful.
Your child may have a vision problem if they:
- complain of blurred vision, headaches or sore eyes
- hold books or reading material closer than normal
- tilt their head or shut one eye when looking at objects
- seem tired after concentrating on close work, such as reading and writing or using a computer
- blink excessively or rub their eyes
- use their finger to maintain place or follow sentences when reading
- miss out words or lines when reading
- sit too close to the television or computer screen
The only sure way of identifying whether your child has a problem with their vision is by having a comprehensive eye examination by an Optometrist.
In New Zealand a subsidy is available from Enable New Zealand which helps to meet the costs involved with children's examinations and spectacles. This subsidy is for the provision of Disability Support Services assistance for children with vision problems in low-income families.
Families with a Community Services or a High User Health Card may qualify for the subsidy if the child is 15 years or under.
To find out if your child may quality for the subsidy, phone Visique Eastland Eyecare.
Visique Eastland Eyecare Optometrists are trained to advise you on all aspects of your child's vision and eye health.