Help­ing chil­dren care for eyes

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Op­tometrists from Visique Mata­mata Vi­sioncare are hand­ing out free sun­glasses to new en­trants through­out Mata­mata to keep young eyes pro­tected.

Op­tometrist Nel­son Ret­ter will be vis­it­ing Mata­mata Pri­mary School and six other schools in Mata­mata, to hand out vouch­ers to new en­trants for free sun­glasses and ed­u­cate teach­ers and par­ents about eye health.

If par­ents don’t re­ceive a voucher they can also bring their 5- year- old son or daugh­ter to Visique Mata­mata Vi­sioncare to col­lect a voucher and re­deem a free pair of sun­glasses.

This is the ninth con­sec­u­tive year Visique has of­fered all new en­trants in New Zealand free sun­glasses and this gift is part of its on­go­ing ef­forts to en­cour­age New Zealan­ders to look af­ter their eyes.

‘‘Eighty per cent of UV dam­age to the eyes is done be­fore peo­ple turn 20, so we’re really fo­cused on get­ting chil­dren into the habit of pro­tect­ing their eyes from UV dam­age,’’ said Mr Ret­ter.

‘‘ Like­wise, 80 per cent of a child’s learn­ing is done vis­ually, so it’s really im­por­tant that chil­dren start school each year with 20/20 vi­sion and they know how to pro­tect their eyes.’’

Mr Ret­ter said one in ev­ery five Kiwi chil­dren, aged five to 12, suf­fers from treat­able vi­sion prob­lems.

‘‘So we rec­om­mend that ev­ery child has a full eye ex­am­i­na­tion to pick up any is­sues quickly.’’

Some chil­dren are el­i­gi­ble for a sub­sidised eye ex­am­i­na­tion, frames and lenses.

Signs that your child may have a vi­sion prob­lem:

Los­ing their place while read­ing or us­ing fin­gers to main­tain their place

Avoid­ing close work par­tic­u­larly read­ing

Hold­ing read­ing ma­te­ri­als closer than nor­mal

Tend­ing to rub have headaches

One eye drift­ing or aim­ing in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion than the other

Clos­ing or cov­er­ing one eye or squint­ing

Omit­ting or con­fus­ing words when read­ing

Hav­ing a short at­ten­tion span for their age

Hav­ing poor hand- eye or­di­na­tion for ac­tiv­i­ties play­ing with a ball

Con­sis­tently per­form­ing be­low their po­ten­tial in their school work.

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