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Case Scenario – Should My Child Wear Glasses?

A 4-year-old came to me for his first eye test a few months ago, no problems reported, just a normal routine check. There I was, all jolly as I usually am with children; getting down to their level, building some sort of rapport with them as I ask about their favourite superhero or princess. And this wonderful little lad was no different. Iron Man was the hero of the day with his superhuman strength and his ability to fly.

And there we were, off to a flying start, when I got him to start reading down the letter chart.

Hmmmm…. Not so great. At first, I thought maybe he didn’t know his letters well enough. But that wasn’t it. He just couldn’t see that well, a surprise to both his parents.

So, I prescribed some glasses to be worn full time in order to give as much visual stimulation as possible, and hopefully improve his acuity, and off he went to save the day with his Iron Man suit of armour.

6 months later he returned having been wearing his glasses perhaps 50% of the time, if that.

I checked again and there was only a marginal improvement – he could still only see about half way down the letter chart with his glasses, nowhere near the 20/20 level that he should have been at. (Have you all heard of 20/20 vision? In layman’s terms, it’s basically perfect vision; the bottom line. It’s where you’d like every child to be at). Even with his glasses, he couldn’t quite see 20/20, which is not ideal.

So, we checked again, and prescribed a slightly different prescription. This time I gave explicit instructions for full time wear, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed, even in the playground.

Why? Mum and Dad asked.

The simplest answer I can give, is constant and clear visual stimulation!

Their child is walking around in a blur. If everything he sees is blurry, his eyes will only ever develop to recognise blur, so clear vision will never be an option. Glasses that give constant and clear visual stimulation will encourage his eyes to develop, so 20/20 vision may then be possible for him. With one caveat… this needs to be done whilst the child is young and his eyes still have the potential to develop.

His progress is being monitored, but if everything goes according to plan, we should see good improvement in 6 months’ time.

This is one very specific case. There are others that need different intervention methods; part time wear may be more appropriate, so I would always encourage in depth discussion with your Optometrist about your child’s visual requirements.

Share your Optometrist’s findings with your child’s teachers so he or she can be encouraged to wear their glasses if necessary. And more often than not, you will find your child actually wants to wear them because the world looks so much better!

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