By their first birthday, a young child is developing a series of interconnected sight-based skills, from colour recognition to object tracking. As toddlers, this evolves into hand-eye coordination and depth perception, both of which play crucial roles in everything from learning to walk through to sporting activities. These skills will continue to improve throughout our early years.
Our eyes are instrumental in learning to read and write, as our focus switches from close objects to more distant ones and back. And whilst eye tests are important at any age, young children should be regularly tested to ensure they are not short-sighted (a degree of long-sightedness is normal). A child will not realise that other people might be able to see things more clearly than they do, but our Optometrists will be able to identify any issues and recommend appropriate courses of action.
Parents also have an important role to play, such as ensuring children wear UV-protective sunglasses in bright outdoor conditions – for example too much ultraviolet light could cause long-term damage. If a child sits too close to a computer screen or complains about having headaches, this might also signal an issue. Knowledge of family medical histories is also important since almost a third of genetic conditions affect our eyes.