Children’s health — why kids should have their eyes checked regularly

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One in four Australian children may have an undiagnosed eye condition and liked at school and home as a result.

However, 32 percent of Aussie children aged 14 years and under have never had an eye test despite the recommended age for a first test being three years old.

News Corp. Australia can reveal research by more than 1,000 Australian parents performed by YouGov and Galaxy, where children under 14 have found while 63 percent think the view is the most important meaning for their children, they are more likely to to take their children to a dental appointment than an optometrist.

One third of parents who have not taken their children for an eye test thought they were too young – despite the recommended age for a first eye test is three years old.

The cost can be a factor that affects the parents' choice by 31 percent, either that they are charged for an eye check or not knowing if it will cost them. This is despite most optometrist's bulk-billing eye checks.

Naomi Barber, senior optometrist at SpecSavers, who ordered the research, said that the children's eyes were constantly changing. She said that up to one in four Australian children could live with an undiagnosed eye condition.

"We know between childhood and age 7 or 8, a child's eye grows dramatically, many structures are changed and if they are not clear it can really affect their ability to learn in a classroom to read and conduct focused activities, "says Mrs Barber.

"Children will not always realize that they are not clear and there are often not many obvious symptoms."

RELATED: 1 in 5 Australian children go hungry ]

A spokesman for health minister Greg Hunt said more than 94 percent of all optometric services were bulk billed in 2016-17 – but the spokeswoman did not want to comment specifically on how many of them were for children.

"If parents are concerned, we encourage them to access these free services," said the spokesman.

Opposition Health spokeswoman Catherine King said the study results were "extremely worrying" and should be a wake up call to Malcolm Turnbull.

"While parents are confused and worried about the cost of eye control, Mr Turnbull is freezing Medicare's discount on optometry services until the midst of

Optometry Australia spokesman and practicing optometrist Simon Hanna said there was clearly more attention needed to let parents know their children's eyes could be tested for free.

"Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that every child has optimal vision at all stages of life and it is imperative that children get their eyes tested" said Hanna.

He said that many more children needed glasses than 20 years ago, due to partly increased awareness, but also the prevention of screening time.

"We know this has an impact on the children's vision and we will mean less screen time, more green (outside) time. "

YouTube star Saber Norris and her f Always know how easy it is for eye problems to be diagnosed.

The three N Orris girls Saber, 13, and Sibling Sockie, 10 and Naz, 6 all wearing glasses now, but for a long time lived without.

"It was only when I saw Sockie's schoolwork suffering and she had stopped reading so much that I thought she could have a problem. Even before I decided to get my eyes tested, I asked if It could be due to lack of motivation, uninterested or other learning problems, "said Brother Brooke Norris.

Saber, who rose for fame after giving a quick-witted interview on the TODAY show and then went viral and appeared at Ellen in the United States, said: "I did not even know that there was a problem with my eyes until I tried on Sockie's glasses and everything looked much better. " [19659002] "We all went to eye tests, and now Sockie, Naz and I all need glasses, but nobody knew before we went to get our eyes tested."

What you need to know to get your children's eyes tested

1. You do not need a doctor's reference, in most cases you can just go to your local optometrist (or make a deal if you are more organized).

2nd It does not cost you anything. Most optometrists bulk bill. Ask your local optometrist if they have bulk billing and if they do not go to another nearby.

3rd You can easily find local optometrist options and information on eye health at goodvisionforlife.com.au .

4th Your children do not have to be verbal before they have their first eye exam. Lots of tests available to optometrists are objective and do not require your children to identify letters or numbers.

5th Your child can not show any symptoms of poor eye health, and their condition can worsen themselves without knowing it. Some children show symptoms, and those you can look at include: Imbalance when looking at people or objects, complaining of sore eyes, sensitivity to strong light, running into things or having trouble balancing, disagreement in school or Reading, Finding It's hard to concentrate.

Key positions on childhood disease

Up to 1 in 4 children suffer from an undiagnosed eye condition

1 in 3 Australian children aged 14 and under have never had an eye test (32 percent )

Over a third (38 percent) of parents who have not taken their children for an eye test acknowledge that they did not intend to have their children's eyes tested

A third (31 percent) of parents who have not taken their children to an eye test, thought they were too young (despite the recommended age for a first eye test was three years old).

Half of parents (48 per cent) who did not take their children for an eye test believed that there was nothing wrong with their children's eyes.

63 percent of parents believe that the view is the most important meaning for their children

The main reasons parents have not taken their children for an eye test is because they do not believe there is something wrong with their eyes (48 percent ), they never thought about it (38 percent) and because they think their children are too young to have their eyes tested (31 percent).

37 percent of Australian children who tested their eyes have not had an eye test in the recommended last two years (13 percent have taken their children to an eye test less often than every other year and 24 percent say their child only had their eyes tested once)

31 percent of the parents either think that they will be charged for an eye test or do not know if it will cost them – not aware that bulk invoicing is possible.

Parents are more likely to take their children regularly to a doctor's appointment s (67 percent) or dental care (46 percent) than to see an optometrist (27 percent).

* YouGov / Galaxy survey of 1015 parents with children under 14 years of age for SpecSavers.

lanai.scarr@news.com.au

@pollietracker

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