Don’t skip the eye test during COVID-19

An estimated 4 million eye tests have been missed over the last few months of COVID-19 – are you one of them? Looking after your eyes is so important.

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What to be concerned about

There are a number of things that can indicate a problem with your eyes. If you, or a member of your family is experiencing any of these, get checked out.

In children problems with eyes can be mistaken for other things. Here are several issues to watch for.

Difficulty reading – they may read slower than usual, lose their place whilst reading, hold books closer to their face, make numerous mistakes whilst reading text, skip words, or perhaps say them in the wrong order. This is usually a sign of dyslexia.

Continuously squinting to see things – They may avoid reading, particularly when what they are reading is far away. Or they may try to see out of the corners of their eyes or tilt their head to help focus on an object.

White or greyish white colour in the pupil – This can sometimes be a sign of cataracts, corneal ulcer, retinoblastoma (eye cancer in children) or uveitis. This will often affect your child’s visual clarity.

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Eyes that are misaligned, i.e: they turn outwards, look crossed or don’t focus together – Please note that it is not uncommon for a baby of up to 4 months to have crossed eyes as they are learning to control their eyes. Crossed eyes are usually a sign of strabismus (misaligned eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye). This will affect the child’s visual acuity, particularly as the distance between objects and viewpoints change, for example, when doing sports and tracking a flying object such as a ball or looking from the chalk board to the paper.

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Eyes that flutter quickly from side to side or up and down – This will greatly affect a child’s hand-eye coordination and they may have difficulty writing or playing sports. They will also have trouble keeping their eyes on one particular target, moving from one object to another, or moving their eyes along a page to read writing.

Eyes that are consistently watery, excrete puss, feel itchy or look red – These are common symptoms for eye infections which are caused by irritating substances entering the eye. You may notice that they rub their eyes frequently to relieve itchiness and irritation.

Eyes that are sensitive to light – this could be a sign of many conditions including cataracts and epilepsy. They may also frequently report that they have a headache.

Bottom line – keep the appointment and get those eyes checked out!

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