Over the past 12 months New Zealand optometrist, Specsavers, has tested the eyes of more than 44,000 children. Their research has shown that more than 75% of kids have required a prescription to correct a vision problem. This is much higher than in other countries, such as Australia where just 40% of children required a prescription.
Another worrying statistic is that 58% of children under the age of 16 have never had an eye exam. This could be because parents believe that there’s nothing wrong with their child’s eyes or they just don’t realise that it might be a good idea. But as statistics show, more often than not, New Zealand children do need some sort of vision correction.
So how do you tell if there’s something wrong with your child’s vision? Well, here are 10 warning signs so you can pick up on any eye-related issues…
- Straining their eyes or tilting their head to see better.
- Frequently rubbing their eyes.
- Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their reading.
- Overly sensitive to light and/or experiences excessive tearing in bright conditions.
- Falling behind in school.
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes.
- Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close.
- Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework; or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities.
- Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better.
- Avoiding using a computer or tablet because it ‘hurts their eyes’.
Specsavers’ ‘Kids Go Free’ initiative provides a free comprehensive eye exam to all New Zealand children aged 15 and under, every two years. So, if your kid is showing any of the above warning signs, or if they’ve never had their eyes test, it might be a good idea to pop into one of their stores for this complimentary service.