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Tips For Parents

familyMany parents have never dealt with vision problems themselves, and so have no idea how to assess their child’s, or their own, vision quality. Even parents who do have glasses or contacts just “do what their doctor says” and don’t understand the differences between good and bad eyesight. Here are some vision nuggets that will arm you with information to make sure you and your family keep seeing your very best.

  • Optometrists have ways of determining whether or not a lens correction is needed regardless of how a child answers questions during the exam.

  • Children will not ruin their eyes by reading in what seems like dim lighting to an adult. Children have higher retinal sensitivity than adults, so it is possible for them to read comfortably in a little bit dimmer light than you might expect.

  • If you place a flat mirror on your child’s reading material, and this allows him or her to see the light bulb or light fixture, there is probably a direct bounce of light from his paper or page. This is especially problematic if the reading material is printed on glossy paper.

  • Placing reading material on a light rather than a dark background is less tiring because the brightness of light entering the eye is more consistent as lines of print are scanned from one end to the other.

  • Daylight is best for prolonged reading. If artificial light is used, most readers find that mixing incandescent light with fluorescent works best. Fluorescent light flickers at 60 cycles per second, a rate that our side vision can sense.

  • If you hold a sharpened pencil horizontally an inch and a half or so above reading material it should not cast a sharply defined shadow of the pencil’s point. If the shadow is sharply defined, a more extended light source may be needed.

  • For writing with the right hand, light should ideally come over the left shoulder. For writing with the left hand, light should ideally come over the right shoulder.

  • Small children who must wear glasses usually push them into place by pushing them up with their fingers on the lenses. As soon as the lenses are smeared up, the glasses come off. Ask your optometrist about special temples to hold the eyewear in place or a headband.

  • If your child needs a headband, ask for a demonstration on how tight it should be. Most parents tend to make the headband too tight.

  • Small children usually need their lenses cleaned frequently. Flush the lenses with running water before using the lens cleaner recommended by your optometrist. This removes grit and reduces the normal build-up of cleaning scratches.

  • Getting that first pair of glasses can be traumatic for a child. There are two factors that make lens corrections more traumatic. Parents in a well meaning attempt to prevent a child from somehow getting unneeded glasses, sometimes tell the child, “I hope you don’t have to get glasses.” In fact the child either needs a lens correction or not, and optometrists have tests that clearly reveal whether or not a lens prescription is needed. The other problem is a how-I-look-and-what-will-they-say problem. In this case “they” are the child’s friends and classmates. Some optometrists will loan frames (secured by a credit card) so you can have a frame-trying-on-party with some of the child’s friends. A consensus by other children on just the right choice can be of huge importance to your son or daughter.

  • If your child needs to be wearing prescription eyewear, be sure you notify his or her teacher. Glasses in the pocket do no good at all.