We all know that eyes are important, but do we do enough to look after them?
This week is National Eye Health Week and I have been talking to our children about their eyes, how we can look after and protect them, as well as what would make them even better.
With iPads, computer screens and other mobile devices becoming more prominent in our daily lives it is important now, more than ever that we put in place ways of protecting our children’s eyes. We need to ensure that they are kept up to date with eye checks at the opticians and make sure we limit their time spent playing on these devices.
To help promote National Eye Health Week, Boots Opticians asked me and my children to talk about our eyes.
My son: Would like eyes like a chameleon so that he can see all around him, as well as eyes that could pick out a specific piece of lego from a box. Personally I think both of these things are genius, especially the lego thing.
My daughter, she wanted eyes that could see a castle and everything else, being four i'm not entirely sure she understands the question but I love that she put some thought into the idea, castles are after all one of her favourite things.
I asked them what colour they thought there eyes were, both being blue meant they already knew this easily, I asked them what they though the black part of their eye was, my son knew what it was and that if we closed our eyes it got bigger and if we looked at the light it got very small. Then ensued at least five minutes of looking at each others eyes in fits of giggles.
Recent research shows 1 in 4 parents admitting their child has never had an eye check and whilst over 90% of children visit a dentist regularly, only 53% of children have ever had an eye check there has never been a better time to think about getting those little peepers checked and ensuring that they are well looked after and seeing everything perfectly.
In the mean time though, Russell Peake, Eye Health Condition Manager at Boots Opticians shares his top tips for kid’s eye health.
- After being way from the classroom for the summer holidays, signs such as your child rubbing their eye, blinking excessively or clumsiness may indicate a sight issue
- Kids won’t always articulate they are struggling to see and will often adapt their behaviour. Keep an eye out for signs such as sitting closer to the television, holding their book closer or squinting at text in the distance
- It’s a myth that children need to be able to read to have any eye check. Children should have their eyes checked at least every 2 years from the age of three - but you can take them sooner.
- Regular eye checks up to the age of eight are recommended as a child’s eyes are still developing and this can help improve the outcome if they have a sight problem. For example, treatment for a lazy eye is most successful before the age of 7 so early intervention is vital
- If your child is in front of a screen for prolonged periods of time – such as a computer or ipad – use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes get them to look 20 feet away (six metres) for 20 seconds to help give their eye muscles a break
- Depending on where you live in the UK your child may have their eyesight checked via a local vision screening programme but it is no longer a guarantee. Remember these should not replace a full eye check at your local optician. Eye health checks are free on the NHS until a child is 16 years old. If your child needs glasses, you can also get an NHS voucher towards the cost, so often they are free of charge
- An eye health check can tell you more about your child’s eyes than just their sight. An eye check can detect diabetes, some cancers and although rare, can also detect some tumours. At Boots Opticians, all eye checks include digital retinal photography as standard which can help us to identify serious health conditions.
To book an eye health check, speak to your Boots Optician or make an appointment by calling 0345 125 3752 or visit www.boots.com/en/Opticians/Eye-Health.