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An Optician Answers Your Child And Pregnancy Eye Care Questions

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with optician Andy Hepworth? Don’t worry, you can read all of the advice he shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your fertility, pregnancy and parenting questions from a top expert.  


This week, optician Andy Hepworth was on board to give you advice.  


As a dispensing optician Andy can answer questions on your family's eye health. He can offer advice on the most appropriate eye care solutions to suit your lifestyle and needs and has expert knowledge of glasses. 

Andy’s currently running a national eye awareness campaign, Think About Your Eyes, aiming to encourage you to think about the importance of good eyesight while driving your kids around in the bad weather. So now is the perfect chance to check your vision is safe for the road.


If you missed the chat, here’s what happened…

I've heard that your eyesight can change after pregnancy/birth. Could my prescription change?

Andy: During pregnancy the body goes through many hormonal and metabolic changes. Your prescription might change a little bit but more usually you will find your eyes feel drier. This can occasionally be a problem for contact lens wearers. Your local optician will be able to check your prescription for you after pregnancy and childbirth and advise you appropriately.

READ: YOUR BABY'S DEVELOPMENT FIRSTS FROM 12 TO 18 MONTHS

My baby sometimes seems to have a squint in photos, but I can't spot it normally. Should I take him to the GP?

Andy: It’s not uncommon for a baby to appear to have a squint in photos. This can be due to folds of skin (epicanthal folds, which can cause a type of pseudo crossed eye, usually grown out of by age one) or position of the eyes, head and reflection from the flash.

If there is a history of squint in the family then it can not hurt to ask advice. Your GP should be able to offer advice and maybe get it checked at a local eye hospital or why not ask your local optician? If there is no history of squint in your family then maybe keep a check on whether you notice it at other times particularly after your baby reaches age one.

READ: YOUR BABY'S DEVELOPMENT FIRSTS FROM NEWBORN TO THREE MONTHS

It's reassuring that you are not able to notice anything other than in photos. In either case make sure you take your little one for an eye examination before they start school or before then if you are worried. You can find a local optician here.

If you don't spot any obvious problems, e.g. bumping into things, what age should you child first visit optician? I have a nearly six year old that's never been to optician.

Andy: We would suggest that all children should be seen at least before they start school. Many vision problems are not obvious for example, lazy eye or long sightedness. If these are spotted early then they are unlikely to cause problems. If there is any history of eye problems in the family like crossed eyes or lazy eye then you can get them checked earlier.

My newborn is a bit cross-eyed. Is that normal or will he need glasses to correct the squint?

Andy: It’s not unusual for a newborn to seem to have crossed eyes. This is often due to skin on the eyelid called epicanthal folds and will usually disappear within a year. If there is a history of crossed-eyes in your family then talk to your optician. Better to have your newborns eyes tested sooner rather than later.

Should my 14 month old wear sunglasses when she's outside? Would you recommend any particular brand?

It’s great to protect younger peoples eyes from sunlight mainly due to protecting them from the invisible UV rays

Andy: Whenever possible, it’s great to protect younger peoples eyes from sunlight mainly due to protecting them from the invisible UV rays the sun emits in large quantities – in the same way that we know to put on sunscreen to protect the skin.

With children’s eyes being so clear, much more of these harmful rays pass to the back of the eyes, where we least want them. Look for sunglasses that are CE marked and say they absorb UV. If in doubt ask your local optician.

My son, 21 months, needs to start wearing glasses to correct his farsightedness. But he won't keep them on. He struggles a lot and cries when we try to put them on – any tips?

Andy: How many parents will have struggled with this, it's not easy! My first suggestion would be to make sure the frame fits, both comfortablyand securely. The best person to confirm (and adjust if required) would be a dispensing optician, who would be found at any of the practices highlighted within the locator.

READ: HOW PHONICS CAN HELP YOUR CHILD TO READ

If you wear glasses, let your son see you with them and initially let them wear the glasses whilst you do something fun together. Let them see themselves in the mirror and be involved in choosing a frame that they like.


If you wear glasses, let your son see you with them and initially let them wear the glasses whilst you do something fun together.

My 3YO sometimes complains of headaches – especially after he's been watching TV or reading with me. I don’t think it’s dehydration, as I always make sure she drinks plenty. Could this mean she needs glasses? Is it too early to get her eyes tested?

Andy: It is certainly possible that vision could be the reason for the headaches and it’s no problem at all for your local optician to deliver a full eye exam for your child.

How do I stop my contact lenses from drying out when I'm wearing them all day in this weather?

Andy: In this weather you are not alone – it’s not unusual to find your lenses drying out. Working in front of a computer and air-conditioning can all contribute to that drying out feeling. If you are in front of a computer try to take frequent breaks – you will not be aware but your blink rate will have dropped. Perhaps train yourself to blink every time you press 'return' or press the mouse.

Make sure you have frequent checkups as advised by your optician, and mention the drying out. There are many different types of lens materials available now and some are less likely to dry than others. Your optician will be able to advise you.

What topics would you like covered at our Wednesday Lunch Club? Let us know in the comments box below.

 
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