YOU THINK Giving my kid more carrots will improve his eyesight.
THE TRUTH “Carrots are high in antioxidants that could help reduce the ageing process and help prevent related eye problems, like cataracts. However, it does not directly improve the eyesight,” says Li Li. Still, it’s important to give Junior a balanced diet, which will keep his whole body healthy, including his eyes. Vitamin A, which carrots are high in, is also important because it helps the photo pigments at the back of the eye to function.
YOU THINK My kid hasn’t complained about his eyesight, so everything’s fine.
THE TRUTH “Because it happens so gradually and there’s nothing the child can compare it with, he might have very, very poor vision and not realise it,” says Dr Isaacs. Li Li notes that Singaporean kids tend not to say anything, especially if the problem is just in one eye and they can use the other to compensate for it. “So if their parents do not bring them in for an eye check, it won’t be detected,” she says.
YOU THINK Myopia is the only vision problem children get.
THE TRUTH There are a host of other eye conditions that kids can get, like binocular vision (whether they use both eyes together), astigmatism (where the front of the eye is not curved properly) and ambylopia. As Dr Isaacs puts it: “The child might not be myopic, but he may still have vision problems.”
YOU THINK Full eye checks are costly.
THE TRUTH They cost $25 to $55, depending on the optometrist you visit. But go to Singapore Polytechnic’s Optometry Centre and you pay only $5. Take your child for a full check before he turns five years old.
YOU THINK What’s the fuss? Junior passed his eye check at school, so he has perfect vision.
THE TRUTH What he gets at school is just a screening, not a full eye check, Dr Isaacs explains. “It just means they have met certain requirements and they don’t have to worry so much. If the child is already slightly myopic and not attended to, then it increases tremendously.” Sometimes, kids cheat and memorise the letters on the charts, Li Li points out. That won’t happen at the optometrist’s centre, which uses a projector chart that delivers letters or numbers randomly.
YOU THINK His eyesight will worsen if I let him wear glasses too soon.
THE TRUTH Relatives may tell you this, but Dr Isaacs says the opposite is true: “It is scientifically proven that not correcting your eyes fully will cause your myopia to increase.”
In fact, delaying spectacles could lead to a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, where there is a retardation of eye development that can happen on one or both eyes.
And when that happens, Li Li says: “Even putting on glasses may not fully fix the problem. In fact, the power of the glasses needed could increase very quickly because the child would strain the eye a lot if he cannot see properly.”
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