Regular Kids Eye Exams Are Essential To Your Child’s Health
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), over 10 million children in the United States suffer from undetected vision problems, and 25% of all school-aged children have vision problems. Many visual problems are not surfaced from a general vision screening performed at school and a comprehensive kids eye exam offered by your Vision Source eye care professional is necessary. Children often experience visual problems even if scoring 20/20 in a visual screening.
Recognizing Signs of Potential Eye Care Problems With Children
Healthy, quality vision plays a big role in your child reaching their highest potential at school, when at play or in competitive athletics. If there is a lack in the necessary visual skills with your child, you may notice:
- Avoidance of close-up work or holds reading material closer than normal
- Losing their place while reading or using their finger to maintain place
- When reading, makes frequent reversals or mits or confuses small words
- Frequent rubbing of the eyes or excessive blinking
- Complaints of headaches or turns or tilting head to use only one eye
- Can’t see the blackboard or consistently performs below potential.
- Eye strain complaints, or loss of concentration
- Failure to maintain eye contact
- Inability to maintain a gaze ( In terms of vision, the eye’s ability to maintain gaze upon an object.” >fixation) while looking at objects
The Importance of Early Detection and Regular Eye Exams
Regular kids eye examinations can catch many problems, offering hope of improving visual ability and comfort for your child. Not only does your eye care professional check for basic visual accuracy and performance, but also should closely examine your child’s cornea, iris and lens to look for any abnormalities, including the lids for proper glandular function and blinking performance.
- Infants should have their first eye exam at 6 months to assess normal eye development
- Children should have their first comprehensive exam at age 3.
- A comprehensive eye exam should be prior to first grade at around age 6.
- After first grade, if no visual problems are detected, an exam every 2 years.
- If visual problems are detected, an annual exam is recommended.
Early detection of visual correction or eye disease is essential in children and your Vision Source eye doctor will look at specific learning related issues as well as overall eye performance. This includes:
- Near vision & distance vision
- Binocular (two eyes) coordination
- Eye movement and focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Hand-eye coordination
- Eye tracking skills
Common Eye Problems In Children
Amblyopia or More Commonly Known as Lazy Eye
Decreased vision in one or both eyes even though their eyes may appear normal, while one eye is actually weaker than the other. It is critical that amblyopia is diagnosed and treated in the very early years (before age 4) as it may not be easily treatable after age 4. Unfortunately, amblyopia is not always correctable with eyeglasses or contact lenses and may require eye patching or visual therapy.
Strabismus or Misalignment of Eyes
A misalignment of the eyes can have different causes. Eyes may turn in, out, up or down, and this is generally detected during regular visits to the pediatrician. This may be a result of muscle control in the affected eye or eyes and can often lead to amblyopia. It is essential strabismus is treated early to correct visual alignment and to prevent more serious problems.
Ability to Focus, Depth Perception and Color Vision
Your child’s ability to focus on objects, to change focus or to gauge distance (depth perception) is a common problem that can go undetected in children. In addition, color blindness tests are essential at early ages as the condition may be correctable. If not, visual therapy may be necessary for future visual development.
Many children cannot properly pull inward with their eyes, which means that they lack proper alignment for comfortable reading.
These are common eye conditions that are referred to as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. All are easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses but if not detected, children will often assume their vision is normal but a lack of performance in school or outside activities may be considerably improved with proper vision correction.