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Articles Health Kids’ vision under 5
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Kids' vision under 5

During the pre-school years, kids are learning to master many tasks that involve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. They’ll also be starting to show an interest in screen time and storybooks. At this stage of a child’s life, it’s up to the parent to pick up on any warning signs or red flags that something may be wrong with their vision.

We have a chat to Health Partners Optometrist, Anh Pahn who tells us more about eye health for kids aged 4-5 years and how parents can keep on top of healthy vision.

What are the key changes in kid’s eye health at this age?

It’s at this stage of a child’s life that they’ll be fine-tuning their vision and visual skills that they’ve already developed during their infant years.

Anh says, “Parents should look at having their kid’s eye’s tested at this age as they can’t tell you if they can see clearly as they don’t know any better.”

Signs there may be a problem with your child’s vision

  • Squinting
  • Frequently rubbing eyes
  • Tilting the head to see better
  • Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
  • Avoiding activities that require near vision (colouring or reading), or distance vision (balls games)
  • Complaining of sore eyes

How can parents stay on top of their child’s vision?

“Visual hygiene is important for parents to stay on top of, they need to pay attention to how much screen time their children are having and to enforce regular breaks,” says Anh.

It’s suggested that your child takes a break every 20-30 minutes when having screen time.

Anh says it’s also very important for parents to schedule in regular eye tests as children in this age group aren’t always able to communicate if there is a change in their vision.

Common eye health issues in this age group

Even though there is a lot of negative talk surrounding toddlers and their iPad use, Anh insists it’s not a bad habit when managed properly.

“iPad use and close book reading aren’t bad for children’s eyes. But there are a group of children who can’t focus comfortably doing those activities. If their eyes work that extra load for hours on end, they’ll lose vision over time,” Anh says.

Eye rubbing caused by allergies is also a very common issue for small children.

Anh says, “Eye rubbing from allergies is very damaging to the front squishy window of the eye. If they continually rub their eyes, over time their eye can misshapen and it can then affect them from seeing clearly.”

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