Eye care expert shares top behavioural signs your child might need glasses

An eye expert has revealed the subtle signs your children might need specs. Eye care expert, Giles Edmonds, revealed it’s not uncommon for kids to mask issues they might be experiencing with their sight – and highlighted the common behaviours that could suggest they are struggling.

If your little one can be seen squinting one eye, as if searching for buried treasure – otherwise known as “The Pirate Impressionist” – this is a tell-tale sign.

Or if they’re seen tilting their head to extreme angles when reading a book – known as the “Head Tilter” – this also might be a sign your child is due a trip to the optician.

It comes as research from Specsavers found 35 percent, of the 1,000 parents polled, of 6-15-year-olds, worry their children are trying to cover up their bad sight.

Giles Edmonds, director of clinical services at the eyecare company, said: “A lot of parents assume that, because their child doesn’t display any signs of a vision problem, there’s no need to have their eyes tested.

“However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ensuring your child has regular eye examinations from an early age is incredibly important, for several reasons.

“Given more than 80 percent of our learning, cognitive, and social abilities are facilitated through our sight, it’s extremely important to your child’s overall development.

“Poor eyesight can cause learning and behavioural problems. Conditions such as squinting and amblyopia – lazy eye – can be treated more effectively if they are picked up earlier, which could make a huge difference to your child.

“Lastly, an eye test doesn’t just check vision – it can also detect other underlying health conditions.”

Parents’ top causes for concern include their child sitting too close to the TV (48 percent), holding a book too close when reading (45 percent), and frequently complaining of headaches (42 percent).

However, 39 percent admit to overlooking these behavioural signs, with 40 percent claiming they have never considered their child might need glasses – while 21 percent confessed they have never taken their child to the opticians.

This might be because one in three admitted to prioritising other health appointments for their children, over their eye health – with doctors (66 percent), dentists (52 percent), and vaccinations (49 percent) taking main priority.

However, almost all the parents polled (97 percent) wish they’d spotted the tell-tale signs earlier.

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The study also revealed the average age at which a parent first takes their child to the optician is six years old – despite experts recommending children have their first eye test at three-and-a-half years old.

Of those who are yet to take their child to be checked, 63 percent said they didn’t seem to be experiencing problems, while 32 percent thought they had routine tests done in school.

Notably, 14 percent identified fear as a barrier to not getting their child’s eyes tested, with 28 percent worried about their child being picked on at school for wearing glasses – while 52 percent attributed it to a fear of having their eyes touched.

Overall, 21 percent of the parents polled, via OnePoll, don’t feel very informed about the importance of eye health for children.

Singer and presenter, Rochelle Humes, who has teamed up with Specsavers to share her experience about her daughter’s eyesight issues, said: “Alaia has been complaining about her eyes and that she wants to sit at the front of the class with her friends so she can see better, and she also says that her eyes are blurry every time it’s time to go to bed.

“I honestly have been dismissing it. I thought she was stalling going to bed, and wanted to sit at the front of class so she could gossip with her best friends. Turns out I was wrong – she needs glasses. How do I feel? AWFUL!”

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