Aussie parents are being encouraged to make eye tests a back-to-school priority with research suggesting more than 25 per cent of school children have been diagnosed with Myopia in Australia, an increase of 9 per cent since 2018.
Despite the significant growth in short-sightedness, The Child Myopia Working Group’s latest ANZ Child Myopia Report suggests undiagnosed cases could run into the millions with research suggesting 30 per cent of Aussie kids have never had an eye test in their life, and 60 per cent of parents not even knowing what the condition means in terms of impaired long-distance vision.
Bupa Optometrist Karen Makin said undiagnosed Myopia can significantly impact a child’s ability to learn and develop both physically and socially.
“While there are some tell-tale signs like squinting, irritability or watery eyes, annual eye tests are an essential part of a child’s regular health checks regardless of how things appear, and should start before they begin school or as recommended by their health practitioner.
“The trap many parents fall into is waiting until there is an obvious issue, when a simple eye test could have picked up the problem in its early stages, before it started to impact their child’s education,” Karen said.
Myopia can often be addressed with prescription glasses or contact lenses, which can make an immediate difference to a child’s day-to-day life and give them the best chance of succeeding at school.
“Don’t automatically assume that your kids’ eyes will stay the same year to year, myopia, long-sightedness and other common eye-conditions often deteriorate as a child gets older due to family history and lifestyle factors such as exposure to the outdoors and screentime. With regular visits, your optometrist will be able to talk about options to try to slow down this progression.
“With many families stretched for time and budget; the good news is that eye tests are quick, bulk-billed for Medicare card holders at Bupa Optical, don’t require a GP’s referral, and are a whole lot simpler than contacting those exercise books!” Karen said.
Visit your local Bupa Optical store to book an eye test or visit here.
For more information, please contact:
External Communications Manager, Bupa