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Is your child’s digital diet harming their eyesight?

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When your little ones are old enough to get sent off to school, they will begin to experience a greater demand on their visual abilities. In fact, good vision is essential when your child starts learning to read, write and use a computer. If your child has an uncorrected vision problem, it could affect their overall development. However, children tend not to realise or communicate any problems they may be having to you, so it's up to you to spot the symptoms.

Here are a few to look out for:

1. Sitting near the TV or holding a book too close

Playing Playstation

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Your child may look like they are deep in concentration, but the need to be close to something they are concentrating on can be a sign of nearsightedness.

2. Frequent rubbing of the eyes

Someone rubbing their eyes

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If your little one rubs their eyes frequently whilst trying to concentrate on something, it might not just be because they are tired, but this could be a symptom of blurred vision.

3. Often losing place or using a finger to track words while reading

Child reading a book

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As children learn how to read, they often use their finger to trace the words and keep their place. As they get older, they should be able to read without the need to trace their words. Try encouraging them to read aloud without using their finger.

4. Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing

Lamp in a minimalist background

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If your child is sensitive to general lighting, such as bright lights or sunshine, this could be a sign of an underlying eye condition.

5. Squinting or tilting the head for better vision of the class board

Someone closing their eyes

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Teachers should watch out for children squinting or tilting their head to help them see the board and report to parents so that an eye test can be scheduled.

If you think your child is experiencing any sort of sight problems, take them for an eye test as soon as possible. The earlier any problems are picked up, the better the outcome. If you have any concerns about your child's eyes or if there is a history of squint or lazy eye in the family, don’t wait for the vision screening at school.

Even if you don’t notice any signs described above, you should still take your children to regular sight tests. Your child should have a check-up at least once every year, as problems can occur at any age.