Our eye health is so important, however keeping across it and booking regular appointments with the optometrist often falls by the wayside – especially in the hubbub of school schedules and busy working days.

A trip to the optometrist doesn’t just check your kids’ eyes and vision ability, it can also uncover developmental abnormalities in the eyes which can be treated. And remember to invest in yourself too! Aside from investigating your vision, a thorough eye examination can help detect more than 270 different medical conditions in an adult, including: diabetes, heart disease, and stroke risk, as well as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal disorders such as macular degeneration.

Unfortunately, we are in a situation where parents need to start paying better attention to their kids’ eyes.


Alarmingly, 50 per cent of the world’s population is expected to have myopia (the clinical name for short-sightedness) by 2050, and cases of this are tending to hit our younger people in Australia more severely than in the past.

Myopia has a strong genetic link, and recent research indicates there are other drivers too. Evidence shows that excess screen time increases the risk of myopia developing in children and teenagers. More time spent indoors increases the risk of short-sightedness, especially when you spend hours reading or on the screen, putting a lot of pressure on the eyes. A big watch out for parents!

Kids May Not Realise They Have Bad Eyesight

Interestingly, a child may not realise they have impaired vision. They may not notice the slow changes and think this is normal as they don’t have a baseline to compare it to. This is why it is so vital that your child has regular eye examinations as they grow.

Here are my top tips for keeping your kids’ eyes healthy:

  1. Head to the optometrist at an early age. As a rule of thumb, kids should visit the optometrist from the age of four, just before they start school. This will allow us to quickly address any issues and ensure your child is set up for success in the classroom. Did you know that 80% of what a primary school child learns is visual?
  2. Keep visiting! Your kids’ eyes will change and develop year-on-year. Make sure you’re putting eye health on the agenda each January ahead of school.
  3. Limit screen time by enforcing breaks. Dry eyes can impact children too and the increase in online learning and screen play can also result in digital eye strain. I recommend the 20, 20, 20 method where possible – for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is because it takes 20 seconds for your eye muscles to completely relax.
  4. Make sure your kids spend time outside every day, taking part in activities such as field sports or walking the dog. Being outside in wide open spaces with sunlight allows eyes to focus on objects beyond screen distance. This results in better depth perception and shape recognition.
  5. If your kids are sporty or active teenagers, look at options outside of glasses. ACUVUE offers a range of contact lenses to address digital eye strain, astigmatism and dry eyes. I regularly fit lenses to children 8 years of age and upward and they enjoy the experience of seeing the world without glasses.

Narelle Hine runs her own practice HineSight Optometrist in the City of Sydney. She has extensive experience in clinical eye care and disease screening, contact lens prescribing and relieving the chronic visual fatigue of screen users. She regularly presents continuing education topics at Optometry conferences around Australia and retains a strong interest in contact lens research. 

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  • Just like me, my family get theirs checked every 12 months. I have been wearing glasses due to poor vision since I was 2, and I always make sure my family is routinely checking their eyes.


  • Always made sure my children had their eyesight tested when they were young. Fortunately our good family genes have meant they don’t have eye problems.


  • This is something I must remember to do.


  • I must admit I am so concerned now for the future of our young people’s eyesight with the screen time use. It can’t be a good thing. I’m 50, and I’m noticing how my eyesight is being effected by screens.


  • Well I needed to see this, I’ve been putting off getting my boys seen until now haha.


  • Great article with lots of advice, guess I’ll be making an appointment now


  • Regular checkups are great, we didn’t know until our child was in year 4 that she is long and short sighted. Got her checked and now she has glasses and hopefully will be able to catch up on her reading.

    At least we know now and so we’ll keep an eye on her as well as our other children.


  • REgular checkups are really important – if you have a perpetual calendar, put a reminder on one month.


  • I am short sighted, my dad is blind as a bat, and now my son is long sighted. His eyes have not reached the desired changes for his age. He wears glasses, and will continue to have them checked once a year, like me.


  • My youngest is 7 yrs old and sees the eye specialist. However she’s not mature enough to co-operate with a proper eye test


  • Some good tips. I think regular checks once a year is the best way to monitor and treat any changes.


  • Once a year check ups are sufficient for most children and adults.


  • Definitely be careful with your eyes and your kids. There are some ‘alternative’ theories out there, especially regarding short sight. .. eg Todd Becker and Jake Steiner (EndMyopia). Many have successfully reversed myopia (short-sight). It is worth reading about. Mainstream opticians often don’t know about it.. just like mainstream medicine doesn’t know about many natural cures. There is an idea called peripheral hyperopic defocus that suggests perfectly correcting myopia for the central region results in a defocus signal at the edge (because the eye is curved). Thus wearing full prescription distance glasses creates a vicious circle where the eye grows longer and longer and you get more and more short sighted. Along with taking care with strength of lens, you need those breaks, outdoor time, keep screens to minimum etc.


  • Alot of us in our family wear glasses so Im constantly watching my kids eye health and making sure they have a eye exam every year


  • My son currently visiting optometrist every year.They told about every tips above.


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