Children's Vision

OPSM & Budget Eyewear has the perfect glasses for every child. Whether it’s reading the blackboard or playing sport, OPSM has their eyes covered.

Our great kids glasses start at just A$159^ and come with single vision active lenses™ - proven to be 10 times more impact resistant and 27% lighter, thinner and flatter than ordinary plastic lenses*, as well as offering UV protection from the sun.

*CR-39 scratch resistant

What you need to know about your child’s vision?

Children depend on their eyes, more than any other sense, for their early learning eye usage and associated learning evolves and develops from birth through their school years. Typical development stages and expectations are:

Your baby

The first four months

Your newborn sees a blurred world of light and dark patterns. Within the first four months they should begin to follow moving objects, and reach for things, as hand-eye co-ordination and depth perception begin to develop.

Things you can do to help development are:

  • hang a mobile outside and above the cot.
  • keep reach-and-touch objects within your baby's focus (20-30 cm away) - toys should be large enough not to be swallowed.

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Four to eight months

Your baby should now begin to turn from side to side and use their arms and legs. Eye movement control and eye/body co-ordination skills should develop further. Both eyes should begin focusing equally by now.

Things you can do to help development are:

  • give your baby different textures and shapes to explore with their fingers.
  • hang objects across the cot to encourage eye-hand-foot co-ordination.
  • play hand clapping and touching games.
  • play ’peek-a-boo’ with toys or faces.
  • provide stuffed animals and other objects with detail - toys should be large enough not to be swallowed.
  • have older children play in the same room as your baby will start to imitate them.

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Eight to twelve months

Your baby should be mobile by now, crawling and pulling themselves up. They will be using both eyes together to judge distances and be able to hold and throw objects with greater precision

Things you can do to help development are:

  • crawling is important in developing eye-hand-foot-body co-ordination, so don't encourage early walking.
  • give your baby toys they can take apart and put back together or stack - toys should be large enough not to be swallowed.

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One to two years

Your child's eye-hand co-ordination and depth perception should be well developed.

Things you can do to help development are:

  • encourage walking.
  • help your baby play with building blocks, simple puzzles and balls.
  • encourage and support climbing and exploring.
  • provide riding toys to help develop eye-hand-foot co-ordination.

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Two to three years

Your toddler will become more interested in exploring their environment and in looking and listening.

Things you can do to help development are:

  • read or tell your toddler stories.
  • encourage and support drawing, painting and colouring.
  • outdoor activities.

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How can I tell if my baby or toddler has a vision problem?

Your child should visit an OPSM or Budget Eyewear optometrist for an eye test by the time they are six months old. If no problems are detected during this first test your optometrist will probably recommend another check up at three years of age.

You should, however, look out for symptoms that may indicate a need for earlier professional care such as:

  • an eye turning inward, outward, upward or downward frequently or for long periods.
  • your child tending to use one eye more than the other.
  • a tendency to bump into objects.
  • red eyes or lids.
  • excessive tearing.
  • encrusted eyelids or frequent styes.

If you notice any of these signs, talk to your OPSM optometrist for more information and advice.

Your school-aged child

It takes a combination of the eyes and vision skills working together to enable your child to see clearly and to understand what they see. The basic vision skills needed for school are:

  • near vision: seeing clearly and comfortably at 25-40 cm, which is the ideal distance at which school work should be done.
  • distance vision: seeing clearly and comfortably beyond their arms reach.
  • binocular co-ordination: using both eyes together.
  • eye movement skills: aiming eyes accurately, moving them smoothly across a page, and shifting them quickly and accurately from one object to another.
  • focusing skills: keeping both eyes focused at the proper distance - to be able to see clearly and to change focus quickly from blackboard to desk, and back again.
  • peripheral awareness: being aware of things either side of you, while looking straight ahead.
  • hand-eye co-ordination: the ability to use eyes and hands together.

If any of these vision skills are missing, or not functioning properly, then your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain symptoms.

How can I tell if my child has a vision problem?

Don't assume that your child has good vision simply because they have passed a school vision screening. Vision screenings are no substitute for a thorough eye test.

Look out for symptoms like:

  • losing their place while reading or making reversals while reading and writing.
  • using their finger to maintain their place while reading.
  • leaving out or confusing small words when reading.
  • holding reading material closer than normal.
  • avoiding close work.
  • rubbing eyes.
  • getting headaches.
  • turning or tilting the head to use one eye only.
  • performing below potential.

What help can my child get?

Changes to vision can occur without you or your child even realising it. That’s why you should have your child's vision tested at least every two years, or as recommended by your optometrist.

After assessing your child's eye test results, your  optometrist may prescribe glasses, contact lenses or vision therapy. If needed, they may also recommend preventive measures, such as mild prescription lenses, to be worn only when doing schoolwork, watching TV or using a computer. This will help your child meet these visual demands and prevent eyestrain.

When your child is using a computer or playing video games, they should take regular rest breaks. If your child has to spend many hours working with a computer, ask your OPSM optometrist for ways to help avoid vision-related problems.

Here are some suggestions to make viewing easier on your child's eyes:

  • be sure the room has soft overall lighting.
  • position the screen to avoid glare and reflections.
  • view TV from a distance of about 2-3 metres or approximately five times the width of the screen.

This information is for general education only and may not be suitable for everyone. It is not intended to be optometric advice and if any of the issues raised affect you, we recommend you seek specific advice from your OPSM optometrist.

^ Includes a frame from a selected range, Visionmax Active single vision lenses and case. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or benefit from any source other than a health fund rebate. Prices quoted are in Australian dollars and offer is subject to change.

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