Children’s vision care should begin at birth and continue throughout childhood and adolescence. Without professional vision exams, children can grow up with distorted vision that eventually causes complications during the school years. According to the American Optometric Association, undiagnosed and untreated vision problems can worsen in children because the brain learns to accommodate the distortion over time. Furthermore, untreated vision discrepancies can lead to academic, athletic and social handicaps that can hold children back from their ultimate potential.
Did you know…
that an estimated one in every four children is suffering from some kind of vision problem? Often these problems go undetected throughout childhood and even into the teenage years. In fact, as many as 11 percent of U.S. teens have vision problems that have not been professionally diagnosed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I have my child’s eyes examined?
Yes. Your child’s first eye exam should occur before he or she ever leaves the hospital at birth. Additional pediatric eye health screenings should occur every year from that point forward, with the first vision acuity test occurring around 3 ½. Even if your child performs well on vision tests, contact our office if you notice that your child is suddenly rubbing his or her eyes, squinting or demonstrating behaviors that seem to compensate for poor vision, such as sitting too close to the television.
What should I expect during my child’s eye examination?
The extent of your child’s eye examinations will depend on his or her age. For most children, exams will measure distance vision, near vision, peripheral field awareness, eye movement and tracking, focusing capabilities, and eye-hand coordination. We will also do various testing to assess your child’s eye health, to determine if there are any congenital or hereditary abnormalities that need further care or monitoring.
What should I be doing between examinations to protect my child’s eyes?
You can help your child’s eye health by encouraging him or her to wear UV-protective sunglasses and feed your child a nutritious diet high in antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein, as well as omega-3 fats. Contrary to popular belief, sitting too close to the TV or other electronic devices will not necessarily harm your child’s eyes, but may cause eye muscle problems, fatigue, and could possibly worsen his or her nearsightedness. It is important to teach your children to maintain an arm’s length distance when using any type of electronic device, and to limit time spent using them.