It is not only people with defective vision who should visit an optician: even if there is nothing apparently wrong with your eyes, you should have regular sight tests – ideally once every two years. This is because some serious eye diseases, such as certain types of glaucoma (which causes blindness) are symptomless in the early stages and can be detected at their onset only by an eye examination. With early detection, they can then be treated and cured. If you have any sudden serious changes in eyesight you should consult an ophthalmologist and not an optician.
There are many people who have lost an eye or had an eye badly damaged due to negligence on their own part. The causes of these problems are usually small fragments of metal, rock, glass or chemicals entering the eye at high speed. This can usually be avoided simply by wearing protective eyewear. People who play tennis or squash should also wear protective eyewear. Fast-moving balls and racquets are the main cause of sports eye injuries. Your eyes are too precious to lose just because you did not take the trouble to protect them.
Does your child have a vision problem?
At least 80% of what children learn comes through their eyes and vision problems can therefore affect school achievement, sporting ability and by implication, social integration. The checklist that follows details some of the signs of vision problems that interfere with school performance. If your child is continually showing any of these signs, you should make an appointment with an optician.
- Holds the book very close (only 17 or 20 centimeters away).
- Holds head at an angle to the book when reading.
- Covers one eye when reading.
- Squints when doing near vision.
- Has constant poor posture.
- Moves his head back and forth while reading instead of moving only the eyes.
- Shows poor attention span and/or drowsiness after prolonged work less than arm’s length away.
- Takes longer than the time required to complete his homework reading.
- Occasionally or persistently reports seeing double while reading or writing.
- Loses his place when moving his gaze from deskwork to the chalkboard, or when copying from text to notebook.
- Reports blurring or doubling only when work is difficult.
- Must use a marker to keep his place when reading.
- Writes up or downhill, irregular letter or word spacing.
- Copies incorrectly from the chalkboard.
- Reverses letters (e.g. b for d) or words (e.g. saw for was)
- Repeatedly omits “small” words (e.g. in, of, at).
- Rereads or skips words or a line without realising it.
- Fails to recognise the columns of numbers.
- Misaligns digits in columns of numbers.
- Has a headache after reading or near work.
- Has burning or itching eyes after doing near vision work.
- Blinks excessively when doing near work, but not otherwise.
- Rubs his eyes during or after short periods of reading.
- Fails to visualise (can’t describe what he has been reading about).