From salty tasting tears because they’ve eaten ready salted crisps, to thinking they can choose their own eye colour when they get older, it turns out children really do say the funniest things when it comes to their eyes, according to new research from Boots Opticians for National Eye Health Week.
The survey of 2,000 children aged 5–10 revealed lots of incredible ideas come out of what children see with their little peepers. Some of the most comical included thinking the whole world goes dark when they close their eyes and believing that the black pupil in the middle of their eyes is an empty hole or a small camera.
16 per cent of the kids asked said they thought blinking turned off the lights or made time stand still, while 1 in 10 thought their parents chose their eye colour for them. 10 per cent said their tears were salty because they're made of sea water while 15 per cent blamed eating ready salted crisps.
It turns out we've got a nation of wannabe superheroes on our hands too as 62 per cent of the children surveyed wished they could use their eyes to see through walls, 30 per cent wanted to see through people and 34 per cent wanted to be able to see what's behind them.
But while these kids gave some enchanting answers, there's a serious message behind the National Eye Health campaign. Research has shown that 1 million children in the UK currently have an undetected vision problem but having an eye test could be an easy way to pick this up and get the problem tackled early.
Russell Peake, Eye Health Condition Manager at Boots Opticians says: “Up to 80% of what a child learns is through their sight so making sure their eyes are healthy can have a huge impact on their development. An eye check is not just about sight – it also looks at the overall health of their eye to identify any problems early so you can prevent them developing further. An eye check can take just 20-25 minutes and we know from the children we see they find the experience fun and fascinating.”
And Russell has some top tips for keeping care of your grandchildren's sight, so that they can carry on seeing the world in their own funny way.
- After being way from the classroom for the summer holidays, signs such as your child rubbing their eye, blinking excessively or clumsiness may indicate a sight issue so get a check up
- Kids won’t always say they are struggling to see and will often adapt their behaviour. Keep an eye out for signs such as sitting closer to the television, holding their book closer or squinting at text in the distance
- It’s a myth that children need to be able to read to have any eye check. Children should have their eyes checked at least every 2 years from the age of three - but you can take them sooner.
- Regular eye checks up to the age of eight are recommended as a child’s eyes are still developing and this can help improve the outcome if they have a sight problem. For example, treatment for a lazy eye is most successful before the age of 7 so spotting it early is important
- If your grandchild is in front of a screen for prolonged periods of time – such as a computer or ipad – use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes get them to look 20 feet away (six metres) for 20 seconds to help give their eye muscles a break
- Eye health checks are free on the NHS until a child is 16 years old. And if your grandchild needs glasses, you can also get an NHS voucher towards the cost, so often they are free of charge
- An eye health check can tell you more about your grandchild’s eyes than just their sight. An eye check can detect diabetes, some cancers and although rare, can also detect some tumours.
To book an eye health check, speak to your Boots Optician or make an appointment by calling 0345 125 3752 or visit www.boots.com/en/Opticians/Eye-Health
- There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.