health

"No 7-year-old boy wants to be different. But mine was..."

Shauna Anderson

Something wonderful happened to my seven-year old son this year: One of his best mates got glasses.

It’s funny how small things like this can make the world of difference. Before his friend got glasses my son had been the only child in his first grade class who wore them.

My little boy had been a bit reluctant to wear his – being the only one. No seven-year old wants to be different.

It surprised me that some of the children were picking on him a little. I don’t actually think it was the glasses, I think it was just the fact that he got diagnosed with myopia half way through the kindergarten year and it was just that something had changed.

I don’t think the kids meant to be cruel, but he became self-conscious.

He began to refuse to wear them, and to take them off at every opportunity.

With the help of his teacher (and a Harry Potter movie or two) we showed him how vital it was that he did use them to see the whiteboard at school. But he was still a little unsure about being the only child in a class of 22 with glasses.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by OPSM. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

You should have heard the excitement in his voice when he came home and told me that Oscar had glasses too. There is no stopping the two of them now! They don’t even think twice about it.

It made me wonder whether it was usual for only one or two children in a class to have vision problems. But it seems that it may just be a simple case of under diagnosis.

According to a survey* by OPSM, one in six Australian children (aged 3-10) have experienced eye problems.

It is something easily overlooked by parents.

The research*showed that children were more likely to have had their feet sized for shoes or their teeth checked than their eyes tested in the last two years.

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It may not be something you think of – every child I know stands a few centimeters away from the TV so you may not pick up that there is a problem.

It is, in fact, recommended that children undergo a check-up every two years.

It’s recommended that children undergo a check-up every two years. (Note: This is a stock image)

OPSM research shows that some of the signs to look out for are:

  • One eye turns in or out while the other points straight ahead
  • Frequent blinking
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Covering or closing one eye
  • Holding a book very close to read
  • Squinting or sitting very close when watching television
  • Complaints of headaches
  • Complaints of blurred or double vision

In fact eye problems are one of the main causes of behavioural issues at school.

I am sure we can all remember a girl or boy when you were a kid who was always mucking up, always disputing the class. Only to show up one day with a brand new pair of glasses and a complete attitude change.

A survey *by OPSM showed that only 50% of parents were aware that disruptive behaviour could be a symptom of eye problems.

So what kind of eye problems do you need to look out for?

Three things mainly affect a kid’s eyesight.

  • Short-sightedness or myopia where you can see things close up but have problems with the TV or whiteboard.
  • Long-sightedness (Hyperopia) – where your child’s distance vision is good, but they have trouble with closer objects, which appear blurred.
  • Irregular shaped eye (Astigmatism) – this is very common.If the curve in your child’s eye is irregular, then their vision may be blurred.

So how can you pick up on whether your little one has a problem?

Well first up book an eye test, but in the meantime there is a wonderful children’s book and tablet app by OPSM called Penny the Pirate.

It’s pretty amazing.

In researching this post I downloaded the app and read the story with my second son – who’s nearly five and as yet doesn’t wear glasses… and the results … well it might just mean his big brother is thrilled again with another kid joining his bespectacled brigade.

*A Lonergan study conducted in April 2014 of 1,006 Australian parents with children aged between 3-10 years.

Here’s some of our favourite bespectacled characters, got any to add? 

When was the last time you got your child’s eyes tested?

The Mamamia Opinionators have been trialling Penny the Pirate, click here to read their reviews!

A little bit about the product…

Penny the Pirate is available as an interactive book and as a tablet app, available at the App Store or Google Play.

In a bid to raise awareness of children’s eye health and improve the vision of children across Australia, OPSM has released Penny the Pirate, the world’s first children’s book and app that allows you to screen your child’s vision.

Penny the Pirate has turned eye screenings into a fun, interactive, illustrated book* which is designed for children aged between 3-10 years old.

Written into the story are three eye screenings, for distance vision, colour vision and depth perception.

To get a copy of the book, visit any OPSM store nationally or download the tablet app at the App Store or Google Play. For more information on Penny the Pirate, visit www.opsm.com.au/penny.

*Penny the Pirate does not replace a full eye test with an optometrist; it is designed to help parents identify whether a child may need an eye test. Kit required, available free in store or free to order online. If you have any concerns at all about your child’s eye health, please contact your local OPSM store  or book an eye test.

 

OPSM  is  a  leading  eye  care  and  eyewear  retailer  and  has  been  looking  after  the  eyes  of  Australians  for  81  years.  Part  of  Luxottica  Group,  a  global eyewear  company  with  over  7,000  retail  stores  and  presence  across  130  countries,  OPSM  has  close  to  400  stores  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand  and helps  more  than  one  million  Australians  see  more  clearly  each  year. Through  its  skilled  optometrists,  world-­‐class  technology  and  exceptional  service, OPSM’s  goal is  to  raise  the  standard  of  eye  health  and  eye  care.  In  addition  to  its  eye  care  services,  OPSM is  renowned  for  its  exclusive  range  of  optical  frames  and  sunglasses  from  international  brands to  suit  all  budgets.

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