Guide to detecting vision problems

EYE CARE

Guide to detecting vision problems

The eyes are the most precious of our sense organs as they contribute significantly to the quality of life. We use our eyes to comprehend our surroundings from a very early stage in life.

About 75 per cent of a child’s learning during his formative years takes place through his sense of sight and are crucial to his intellectual and behavioural development. With vision playing such an important role, the act of protection and preservation of sight becomes vital.

However, vision problems, especially among children, are often asymptomatic in nature, which means there are few signs of illness or disease to be found in the child. This leaves parents ill-equipped in identifying a condition with vision. Also, in many instances, children fail to articulate vision problems coherently.

This lack of a reference point evades early detection of defects, which is crucial for corrective action. With an unaddressed physical anomaly, many simply adjust to poor vision by moving closer to the black board, holding books closer to their eyes, squeezing their eyes or just avoiding work that requires visual concentration altogether.

This mars their learning potential and ability to perform which often causes considerable emotional duress in them, their parents and teachers who are their nurturers.  

Given below is a quick guide on what you could do in order to detect vision problems in your child and protect him from vision-related disabilities:  

*Look out for signs

If your child’s eyes look red- rimmed, crusted or swollen, if it appears crossed or if his/her eyes get watery, it could be an indication of something not being quite right.

*Listen to him

There are times when your child may complain of itchy or burning eyes. He/she may feel auseous or dizzy or have headaches, especially after near vision activities like reading or doing homework. He may complain of double vision or sometimes blurred vision. Parents must be attentive and communicate with their child, as these are often indicative of eye anomalies.

*Watch your child carefully
In many cases, it may not be possible to receive verbal cues to vision problems.  During such instances, it helps to be watchful of your child’s actions. You may notice your child rubbing his/her eyes from time-to-time or having trouble reading or performing close range activities. He/she may show a tendency to cover one eye while looking at objects.

He/she might tilt the eyes or squint or frown while looking at objects. If you notice any such behaviour, it is best to consult an ophthalmologist.   

Timely detection of these problems and their correction by spectacles or surgery can tremendously improve the child’s potential during his/her formative years. Periodic screening helps in early identification of visual defects and prescriptions/use of corrective spectacles.

Here are a few pointers on how you can help protect your child to avoid early vision deterioration:

Important rules to protect the eyes

*Remind your child not to strain his/her eyes. Ask him/her to blink often.

*Keep the eyes away from excessive light and direct sunlight

*Keep flies away as they are a source of infection

*Encourage your child to use handkerchiefs or towels at school and home

*Make sure he drinks adequate amount of water

*Do not encourage your child to lie on the floor and read

*Ensure that any reading material is placed about 12-14 inches away from the face

*When reading, the light source should  always be behind the person reading and the light should be directed on the page. If he/she is  reading at a desk, ensure that  a shaded lamp is being used, to keep light from shining directly into the  eyes.

*If your child uses the computer, adjust the monitor about 20-28 inches from the eyes. Place it at an arm’s length. The screen should be 20 degrees below eye level.

*Reduce glare: Adjust the contrast and brightness of the computer to a level that is soothing to the eyes.

*While doing school work, ensure that your child keeps all reference material close by. This shall prevent the eyes from frequent readjusting and tiring.

*If he/she uses spectacles, ensure that it is cleaned often as dust can reduce contrast and contribute to glare 

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