Mr Hamada works as an honorary private consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children which is based in London.
Contact : 0800 197 8808 London & Sussex
Christmas is nearly upon us and I expect many parents and families are looking at what toys to buy their children this year. Christmas should be a happy, fun time of year with children playing with their new toys, but thousands of children every year suffer from eye injuries caused by toys. These can range from minor accidents, which don’t require any attention from an eye doctor, to more serious accidents and even blindness. Some examples of eye injuries caused by toys are corneal abrasions, increased intraocular pressure and traumatic cataracts.
Children that spend too much time unsupervised on computers can cause vision problems. Just like adults, children that spend a lot of time in front of a computer, smartphone and even e-reader have a higher risks of developing computer vision syndrome.
If your child has uncorrected vision issues, then it could really impact on their development. Here are a few warning signs you should look out for.
1. Always sitting too close to the television or holding books close
While sitting close to the television will not cause square eyes as the myth says, it can be an indicator that your child is struggling to see and the same if your child has to hold a book very close to see, it could mean your child is near-sighted.
2. Regular eye rubbing
Children do often rub their eyes when they are tired or upset but if your child is regularly rubbing their eyes even when being active or trying to concentrate it could be a sign of a vision problem, so best to get it checked out at an eye clinic.
3. Problems with hand-eye coordination
A child is not going to be perfect at catching a ball for example, but if you find you child constantly struggling with hand-eye coordination tasks or activities this could also be a sign of a visual issue.
4. Excessive tearing or sensitive to light
If your child is sensitive to indoor lighting, flashes of light; such as a camera, or the sunlight they could have photophobia or extreme light sensitivity, this can cause headaches and nausea but having light sensitivity could be an array of eye conditions so speak to your GP or eye doctor if you think this is a problem for your child.
5. Closing one eye
Does your child close one eye when watching television or reading? This could be a sign of a refractive or binocular problem that stops the eyes from working correctly together.
6. Eyes not pointing in the same direction
If your child’s eyes do not point in the same direction this could be due to a squint or lazy eye for example. This should be checked by your GP or eye doctor and the earlier it is picked up the easier it may be to correct with glasses, patches or surgery.
Remember a child needs regular eye tests too, from birth until the child is about 4 or 5 this will probably be checked when the child has normal follow ups but after this age they should have an eye test as least every 2 years at an optician.