News, News and Events • October 10, 2019

Healthy Eyes, Happy Kids

Helping parents care for their child’s eyes.

Good eyesight is important for your child’s learning and development. Healthy Eyes, Happy Kids, aims to increase awareness of eye health and safety, and the services available to support eye care.

 How does my diet affect my unborn child’s eyesight?

The mother’s diet is the baby’s diet, therefore it is important to eat a variety of foods from the five food groups to ensure the nutritional needs of both you and your baby are met.

When can my baby see?

Newborn babies can see, but are unable to focus until they are approximately three months old. Eyes continue to develop throughout childhood.

How do I keep my child’s eyes safe?

  • Protect your child’s eyes from the sun – using a hat or sunglasses.
  • Keep your child’s eyes clean.
  • Washing hands is important, especially after using the toilet, before eating, after handling pets and when they are tired – rubbing eyes with dirty hands can lead to infection.
  • If your child has a crust or discharge around their eyes seek advice from a doctor or optometrist.
  • Keep chemicals and tools out of reach and secured.
  • Keep a careful watch when children are playing.
  • Restrain children when travelling in the car and ensure sharp or heavy objects are secured.

How often does my child need an eye check?

Many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early. Regular eye checks are important in monitoring the health of your child’s eyes and ensuring there is no adverse impact on their learning.

You can make an appointment to visit an optometrist for a full eye examination – referral is not required and usually a Medicare rebate is available for all or part of the cost. You can check this when you ring to make an appointment.

What if my child needs glasses?

Glasses are prescribed to correct shortsightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hypermetropia) or distorted vision (astigmatism). If glasses are prescribed, your child needs to wear them during the times specified by the eye professional and there are a number of things you can do to help your child adapt, such as;

  • Allow your child to choose their own glasses from two or three within your price range.
  • Promote the message that glasses are cool.
  • Explain that playing games and reading will be easier when they can see more clearly.

Eye health professionals

Picture of young boy playing

Optometrists conduct vision examinations and prescribe spectacles and contact lenses when required. Optometrists specialise in the management of disorders of the eyes and visual system.

Ophthalmologists are doctors with specialist training in eye care, diagnosis, management and surgical treatment of eye conditions and diseases. A doctor or optometrist can refer children to an ophthalmologist.

Orthoptists specialise in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of children with strabismus (turned eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye) and in the assessment and monitoring of eye disease.

What should I look out for?

Keep an eye out for anything unusual in your child’s eyes and/or behaviour, including;

• Eye/s turning in toward the nose or outwards

• Eye/s wobbling

• Tilting the head when looking

• Frequent eye rubbing

• Watery eyes or discharge

• Sensitivity to light

• Squinting in normal light or when trying to focus

• Holding a book too close

• Sitting too close to the TV

• Difficulty concentrating

If you notice anything different or unusual about your child’s eyes seek advice from your doctor or an optometrist, who can refer you to other services if necessary.

What next?

Picture of woman helping young boy

If your child has been diagnosed with vision impairment they may need some extra support. Early Intervention Consultants have a background in child development and learning. They work alongside families to support their child’s learning, setting foundations for future growth and development.

About us

Can:Do 4Kids, Townsend House has provided family-centred support for blind, deaf, hearing, vision or sensory impaired children in South Australia for over 140 years, offering vital therapy and services. Our experienced Early Intervention team works alongside the families of children with hearing, vision and sensory impairment to help them support their child’s learning, setting foundations for future growth and development.

Services are tailored and include both individual and group programs, education on diagnosis and therapies, setting and working towards developmental goals, assistance with specialist medical appointments and transition to childcare, preschool and school.

Can:Do 4Kids Early Intervention Consultants work as a part of a multidisciplinary team offering a range of services, including;

• Occupational Therapy

• Speech Pathology

• Orientation and Mobility

• Assistive Technology Services

• Child and Youth Development

• Audiology

Can:Do 4Kids is registered to provide services under a variety of funding models including National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Medicare, Private Health and self-funded.

We would love to hear from you. For further information about our services and to discuss, your child’s needs please contact us.

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