Dr Brendan McCreesh optometrist at McBride and McCreesh Opticians discusses some common misconceptions around children’s vision.
Myth 1: Glasses might make my child’s vision worse or give them a lazy eye
Wearing glasses will not make your child’s eyes weak or dependent on glasses. In most cases, glasses can help to relieve strain on the eyes and to relax the eye muscles. Wearing glasses as recommended can help sight to develop normally and achieve its full potential.
Myth 2: I don’t need an eye examination for my child because their school offers vision screening
School vision screening is a basic vision assessment, which aims to identify children with significant visual problems so they can be referred to the hospital for further investigation. A sight test at McBride and McCreesh Opticians is a more comprehensive check, which can pick up many conditions, including colour vision defects, problems with the development of 3D vision and any need for glasses or contact lenses.
Myth 3: We don’t wear glasses, so our child will not need them either
If parents aren’t glasses wearers it doesn’t automatically mean that their child won’t need glasses, as this is inﬂuenced by both genetics and environmental factors. Many genes are associated with visual problems. Family history, ethnic background, environment (living indoors, in cities) and carrying out near tasks, such as screen use, have all been linked to the development of short-sightedness.
Myth 4: I need to wait until my child can read before they can have their sight tested
Children do not need to be able to read words, or even letters, in order to have a sight test. At McBride and McCreesh Opticians, we use other methods, such as pictures, to check how well your child can see. We recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three, so that conditions are picked up and treated early. After the first test it is a good idea to return every year, or as recommended by your optometrist.
Myth 5: It is not safe for children to wear contact lenses
The real issue is not age, but how responsible and motivated the child is to wear them. In my experience, children can make very good contact lens patients, and they’re a great option for boosting self-esteem. Contact lenses are excellent for playing sport as the wearer gets better ‘all round’ vision as there is no restriction with frames, and there is less risk of an accident or damaging a pair of glasses.
Before school starts this year, make sure your child takes the test that may help them pass all the rest! To book an appointment call McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66322524.