Sooner is better for your child's eye examination
It is important that children have an early eye examination with the optometrist. We think your child should have their first eye exam when they are 6 months old. Common conditions such as "farsightnedness" and "astigmatism" can create conditions where your child has to work harder than other children to see close when reading. If your child has to work too hard to see to read they may not like to read. They may tell you they "just don't like to read", or they may tell you nothing! It is better to be cautious, and find and correct visual problems now, before your child is at reading age, than to have to deal with the consequences later. One out of every four children will develop a vision problem that can interfere with learning. Many of these children do not actually get diagnosed until they are older and have silently struggled with poor vision. They may begin to dislike reading, and probably will not know, or be able to tell you, that their eyes are making them work harder to see. What if my child has had a "vision screening" Vision screenings were not meant to take the place of a comprehensive eye examination, and do not detect many of the important conditions that may affect how your child focuses in the early years.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Not for a children's eye examinationIdeally, children should have an examination before the age of one. An early eye examination will help us rule out conditions that need to be treated, or alert us to conditions we will need to watch closely over their childhood years. We have different ways of testing children so that we get the necessary information for an age-appropiate diagnosis and treatment. (if necessary)
Did they know they were having a problem? Your child probably does not even realize he/she has a vision problem. They might be struggling with their vision and therefore having a hard time reading. That is why a comprehensive eye examination is so important. The visual system can fool us into thinking that our vision is not the problem, because we can see if we "work at it". Working hard to focus, and also working hard to learn at the same time, is too much work for any child .
Distance vision is important, but it is not the most important way that your child learns. Most early childhood learning takes place when the child is looking up close. Whether it be picture books, coloring, early readers, or handheld devices, like iPads. More importantly, most of the stimulation that the visual system needs to develop better acuity for future academic success comes from doing fine work up close. If your child's vision is not optimized for close vision when they are young, they may have to try to "catch up" later, and the opportunity for them to "be all they can be" may have passed.
Pediatricians do not perform comprehensive eye examinationsReading the chart at the pediatrician's office is not the same as a comprehensive eye examination. Pediatricians will be the first to admit they "don't do full eye examinations", and they are not expected to be able to diagnose eye conditions. They perform screenings in their office so some of the most obvious problems might be pointed out to parents, therefore encouraging them to have their children's eyes examined comprehensively by an eyecare professional.
School vision screenings are not comprehensive eye examinationsMany parents believe that school vision screenings are sufficient care for their children's eyes. But this is not true. Vision screenings performed by a school nurses, or a parent volunteer, if performed correctly, can be detect some common problems such as trouble seeing distance. However, they have a very limited ability to detect important visual conditions such as farsightedness, and astigmatism. Too many times have I seen these conditions go undetected because a comprehensive eye exam was not done by an eye doctor. Click the link to learn more about the difference between school vision screenings and eye exams from the American Optometic Association.
Make an appointment!
Your child may have a vision problem
if they are:
- squinting, closing or covering one eye
- constantly holding materials close to the face
- tilting their head to one side
- rubbing their eyes repeatedly
- one or both of their eyes turn in or out
- they have redness or tearing
- they were born prematurely
- they have developmental delays
if there is a family history of:
- lazy eye (Amblyopia)
- high eyeglass prescriptions
- eye disease
- other vision problems
We like working with children...... so the visit should be fun and informative!