Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2017 Contents CARE MAGAZINE • 7
By Kareem Marcelle BSc. Optom & Naftali
Bastien BSc. Optom, FBDO, ABDO, CL Dip
As the start of the new academ-
ic year fast approaches, it is
important for us to consider
the impact of good vision on
our children's academic per-
formance. It is recommend-
ed that children should have their first eye
examination between the ages of 3 and
5 years and continue to have annual eye
examinations until the age of 16.
We should know that an eye examina-
tion for a child differs slightly from that of
an adult which would include testing for
colour deficiency, 3-dimensional vision and
Colour Deficiency refers to the inability
to perceive colour at its full extent. Colour
deficiency is an inherited condition that oc-
curs from birth and does not worsen with
age, however, it can only be detected by a
third party or through an eye examination.
Colour deficiencies affect an estimated 8%
of the male population and less than 1%
of the female population. Persons with a
colour deficiency may have excellent vision
but are unable to distinguish between red,
green and blue light. The most common
deficiency is the red-green defect whereby
the person will confuse colours with a red
or green component.
Blue-yellow defects, as well as complete
colour blindness (white and black) are ex-
Unfortunately, there is no cure available
for a colour deficiency, but you can develop
coping mechanisms. For instance, we should
be mindful of choosing a profession that
is not colour dependent such as a pilot, an
electrician or graphic artist.
Signs & Symptoms to Indicate the Need
for an Eye Examination
1. Frequent Eye Rubbing.
2. Holding books closely for reading or
watching television at a close range.
3. Excessive tearing of eyes or light sen-
4. Deteriorating performance academi-
cally, as well as avoiding activities such
as reading, homework and recreational
5. Squinting of eyes to enhance vision,
for example, while watching television
6. Sudden headaches.
7. Tired eyes after concentrative tasks
or use of electronic devices.
8. Misalignment of the eyes (Crossed
9. White pupil reflection in photos.
The right start
for your Pupil
If visual aids are recommended follow-
ing the eye examination, we may have the
option of using:
• Glasses - Everyday use.
• Contact Lenses - Sporting or recrea-
tional activities. Eg. Gymnastics, foot-
ball and other contact sports. Contact
lenses offer a wider field of view as
opposed to glasses since there are no
frames to obscure peripheral vision re-
sulting in better sporting performance.
Can my child wear contact lenses?
The age for contact lenses wear varies
from child to child. It's totally dependent
on the child's lifestyle. A child should be
responsible enough to handle the care and
cleaning of contact lenses to keep their
eyes free from infection. Particularly if your
child is involved in an activity for which
spectacles aren't suitable, then the use of
contact lenses, even at a young age, would
improve the child's performance and safety
through improved vision.
Does using electronic devices and
watching television at a close range dam-
age the eyes?
NO! Physical damage is not done to the
eyes, but it can indicate signs of short-sight-
edness and/or induce symptoms of eye-
strain which can entail tired eyes, blurred
vision or difficulty focusing, headaches,
double vision, eye pain or light sensitivity.
Dos and Don'ts for Eye Health
1. Do refrain from eye rubbing.
2. Don't wear glasses that were pre-
scribed for someone else.
3. Do eat lots of fruit and vegetables to
maintain healthy eyes.
4. Do drink lots of water and eat foods
rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to aid in
reducing symptoms of dry eyes.
5. Do exercise proper hygiene when in-
teracting with the eyes especially with
contact lens use.
6. Do consult an eye care practitioner
before using medication or eye-drops.
7. Don't stare at the sun or bright lights.
e.g. laser pointers.
8. Do take frequent breaks when per-
forming near tasks like reading or
using the computer.
9. Do encourage the use of UV-blocking
sunglasses when outdoors for extend-
ed periods e.g. Carnival time or at the
In conclusion, early detection of vision
problem can significantly aid in improving
a child's health and lifestyle.
Kareem Marcelle and Nafatli Bastien are optome-
trists at LOOK Opticians Ltd.
Colour Blind Awareness. n.d. http://www.colour-
August 16, 2017).
Vision, Cooper. Contact Lenses for Children. 2017.
lenes-for-children (accessed August 16, 2017).
Colour Deficiency refers to
the inability to perceive col-
our at its full extent. Col-
our deficiency is an inher-
ited condition that occurs
from birth and does not
worsen with age, however,
it can only be detected by a
third party or through an
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