By Alexa Kaczka
Many schoolchildren across the UK and the rest of the world have their eyes checked while they are still in primary school, identifying vision problems early before they have the chance to develop and cause major issues.
However, in many cases this may not be enough, according to one organisation which claims that eye checks must be carried out as early as possible to ensure that children do not have to suffer in silence with poor eyesight.
A recent report from the UK's Eye Care Trust found that as many as one in five schoolchildren may be suffering from an undiagnosed problem with their vision.
Not only does this hamper their enjoyment of everyday life and the way that they interact with friends, but it can also interfere with their ability to learn and have major repercussions on their future school life and career.
The report has led to vision expert Noel Meehan calling for parents to book an eye test if they have even the slightest suspicion that their child has vision problems, preferably before the youngster reaches eight years old.
In many cases uncorrected eyesight problems can be mistaken for learning difficulties, and so it is vital that issues are nipped in the bud, he stated.
"Everyone needs regular eye examinations, including children. Unfortunately, we don’t always notice that our little ones are struggling with their vision – or mistakenly believe that the problem lies elsewhere," Mr Meehan explained.
"Children accomplish up to 80 per cent of learning through sight during their first 12 years, so testing their eyes after eight years old may already be too late."
The expert explained that some of the key symptoms to look out for in children is if they lose their place while reading, have frequent headaches or rub their eyes often.
In addition, poor handwriting and holding books close to their face when reading are both signs that they are struggling to see and any parents who notice this should book a test immediately, he concluded.
by Alexa Kaczka