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OPTOMETRY & EYEWEAR with Melissa Hay, Visique Milford

Caring For Young Eyes

It’s never too early to begin caring for eyes. In this month’s article, eye expert Melissa Hay of Visique Milford Optometrists shares with Channel readers the importance of looking after young eyes...  

Children will now be back at school for another year. School is such an important foundation for the rest of our lives, where we learn all sorts of educational and social skills.
We all know that everyone learns in a different manner. Studies have shown that 80% of our learning is done through our eyes, so it is imperative that kid’s eyes are healthy and functioning well. I believe that every 5 year old should have a full eye test, to ensure that they don’t have any issues with their eyes that could affect their performance at school. One in every six New Zealand children, aged five to 12, suffers from treatable vision problems. So we really recommend that every child has a full eye examination before they start school to pick up any issues quickly.

Some children under 15 years of age are eligible for a subsidised eye examination, frames and lenses through Enable New Zealand. Visique Milford Optometrists is qualified to assess children for this subsidy which, depending on frame and lens choice, can cover the whole cost at Visique.

Signs that your child may have a vision problem are:

  • 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 their eyes or have headaches

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

  • Closing or covering one eye or squinting

  • Omitting or confusing small words when reading

  • Having a short attention span for their age

  • Having poor hand-eye coordination for activities like playing with a ball

  • Consistently performing below potential

For the ninth year in a row, Visique Milford Optometrists is offering all five year-old new entrants free sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays. Schools across the North Shore have vouchers to give to their student that you can bring in. But, don’t worry if you don’t have a voucher, just bring your new entrant in to us, and we will find them a cool pair of free sunglasses.

Research has shown that 80% of the UV damage to our eyes happens before we are 20 years old. So, it is really important that all children get into the habit of wearing good UV protecting sunglasses. Common eye diseases like, pterygium, cataracts and pingeuculae can be prevented by wearing sunglasses.

We may be used to wearing sunglasses to stop glare during the middle of the day, but research from the Kanazawa Medical University in Japan suggests we need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful rays when the sun is lower in the sky, such as early and late in the day, because of the angle of the sun in relation to the eyes. So, only wearing sunglasses in the middle of the day doesn’t cut it. By the time you’re suffering from something like a pterygia your eye has already suffered a lot of damage over a number of years. This summer Kiwis need to get into the habit of wearing wrap-around style sunglasses that are 100% UV light protective throughout the whole day, even when it’s cloudy.

Visique Milford Optomestrists - 155 Kitchener Road, Milford. Phone 489 4797.

by Melissa Hay