The United Kingdom's Association of Optometrists (AOP) is launching a new campaign to remind parents to bring their children in for a visual exam as early as possible. To get kids more interested in learning about visual health, the AOP is teaming up with a bunch of fun characters from the new film Despicable Me 3.
Besides the "fun factor," AOP is using the third Despicable Me film to teach parents how they can check their child's vision when they go to see the movie. AOP workers say that if a child has a problem viewing any 3D film, they most likely have a vision problem.
In order for 3D effects to work on a person's eyes, the eyes must have strong binocular vision. Binocular vision refers to two eyes that both work together and see clearly. Any child that can only make out 3D effects with one eye might have undiagnosed amblyopia (aka lazy eye).
It's extremely important for children to get amblyopia diagnosed as soon as possible. If a doctor doesn't catch lazy eye before a child reaches the age of six, treatments for the disease become far less effective. Indeed, many children who get diagnosed with lazy eye too late develop serious visual problems that they'll have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
A few other symptoms parents should be on the lookout for during the film include drifting eyes, headaches, and frequent eye rubbing. While these symptoms may not indicate a serious problem, it's a good idea to schedule an eye exam ASAP.
AOP recommends that all children start getting routine eye exams by the age of three. You can, however, bring in your child for an eye exam earlier if you have any worries.
A brand new survey from AOP's Voice of Optometry insight panel showed that one in five British schoolchildren have an undiagnosed refractive error. AOP estimates that there are now around one million children in the UK with vision defects.