This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own
I started wearing glasses when I was just five years old. I remember going to the eye doctor and picking out what I thought– were the most beautiful glasses ever! And for the year 1989- they really were awesome. I loved being the only child in my family to have glasses at the time, I felt that it made me special and unique. Unfortunately, my eye sight was really bad and has only gotten worse over the years. Thankfully, as a young child I didn’t really worry about that side of it and just got to enjoy wearing glasses.
Because of my horrible eye sight I always wondered if my daughters would inherit that gene.
But my oldest daughter went through two years of pre-school and never complained about not being able to see the book during story time. And she was never squinting her eyes or complaining about blurry vision. We never felt worried about her vision.
She started Kindergarten last fall and right before Winter Break the entire school went through mandatory vision and hearing testing. And I am grateful for that.
My daughter came home from school that day with her results. At the top of the page the box was marked indicating we take her to an eye care professional. She had failed the vision test. Right then I wished I had scheduled an eye exam at the beginning of the school year for her. But I hadn’t. All we could do was move forward and make her an appointment with our eye doctor. I am grateful that my optometrist was available and we made a check up right away.
She was nervous to go to her eye check up , but she did great and at the end of the appointment her doctor confirmed what we were expecting. She needed glasses, and her vision was pretty bad.
I immediately wondered how that could be. She never complained, she didn’t sit close to the television set, and she wasn’t running into walls or anything! However, our doctor explained that she didn’t complain because she simply didn’t know any better.
She just thought the world was blurry.
My heart dropped and then the mom guilt kicked in.
My sweet little girl was living in a blurry world and she didn’t even know it! She was so used to her bad vision that she didn’t even need to strain her eyes to see. She was just used it. She didn’t know what leaves looked like on trees- she just thought it was one big blur.
I knew it was possible that our children might have bad eye sight- but I honestly thought we were in the clear (no pun intended) with her. 60% of parents feel an eye exam is not key to a child’s healthy checkup schedule. I should have known better.
As someone who has dealt with blurry vision, glasses, contacts, and eye exams for close to thirty years I felt so heart sick over the idea of my little six year old having to deal with all of that at such an early age and for the rest of her life. I thought about her great big, beautiful blue eyes and how sad it would be for them to be covered up with glasses.
Even though I was feeling those emotions I put a great big smile on my face- like all moms would- told her how exciting glasses were going to be! And thankfully, she was genuinely happy and excited about wearing glasses. Just like I had been at her age. And that helped. A lot. I didn’t want her to have a negative association with glasses and I didn’t want her to think they were a bad thing at all. We cheered and danced around and text her grandmas and immediately made plans to pick out her glasses.
When she put on her glasses a few weeks later her face lit up. She was beaming. It was as if she was seeing the world for the first time.
“Mom! I can see those letters!” She told me as she pointed to a sign that was far away. And right then all my concerns about her having to wear glasses went away. My baby girl could see clearly for the first time in a long time and she was experiencing life in a whole new way.
August is Eye Exam Awareness Month.
Make it a priority to schedule your child an eye appointment. You can find the closest eye care professional to you by clicking here. Ever since my daughter got glasses I have noticed how many other children her age also have them. 5-10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged children have eye problems. I had no idea! Early detection is so important, if left untreated it can cause permanent vision loss which should be enough for any parent to get their child to an eye doctor. Experts say that 24% of parents wait for their child to have symptoms before taking them to an eye doctor- but most- like my daughter don’t even know what “normal” vision is- they may never say anything at all.
I am so grateful that we were able to catch her poor vision when we did. She will now go the eye doctor every year for her check-up and we will be taking our youngest daughter to get her eyes checked as well.
You can find out more information on the importance of yearly eye exams by visiting thinkaboutyoureyes.com.