Back to School eye tests encouraged after ‘screen heavy’ 2020


Australian parents are encouraged to have their children’s eyes tested ahead of the new school year, on the back of 2020 which featured significantly increased screen time due to online learning and more time spent at home.

Bupa optometrist Karen Makin said undiagnosed vision problems can be associated with educational, physical and social development difficulties amongst children.

“The COVID-19 pandemic certainly changed the way children learnt, socialised and entertained themselves with many exposed to screens for many hours a day learning, socialising or relaxing in front of the TV.

“Parents who suspect their child has developed a vision impairment or is experiencing a deterioration of an existing condition should visit an optometrist ahead of the start of Term 1. Something as simple as a pair of glasses or contacts can make a significant and immediate difference to a child’s day to day life and give them the best chance at succeeding at school,” said Karen.

Research suggests one in five Australian children have an undetected vision problem[1] with many experiencing short-sightedness which can be caused and exacerbated by prolonged screen time, along with reduced time spent playing outdoors.[2]

It is recommended that all children have their eyes tested before they start school for the first time, this will ensure that there are no underlying issues that may affect a child’s learning. Annual eye-tests are recommended thereafter (or as advised by your eyecare practitioner) to track any changes or emerging problems.

“Unlike many physical conditions, vision impairments can be difficult for a parent to identify, however there are some tell-tale signs a parent can take note of, such as squinting, watery eyes or just general tiredness and an inability to concentrate properly.

“In most cases, these problems can be diagnosed in a matter of minutes with a simple eye test. If glasses or contact lenses are required, they are available in a range of different styles and prices with many children’s glasses options available with no out of pocket costs for Bupa health insurance customers[3]. The most important thing is not to wait,” said Karen.

Visit your local Bupa Optical store to book an eye test or visit here.

[1] https://www.optometry.org.au/advocacy_government/us-ahead-of-australia-in-commitment-to-childrens-eye-health/
[2] https://goodvisionforlife.com.au/2020/05/07/screen-time-versus-green-time-looking-after-your-kids-eyes-during-covid-19/
[3] Children glasses with safety lens and any frame up to $249 on applicable Extras policies.