Clear vision is essential to a child's early development. The majority of what children learn early on in a classroom is presented visually. Early eye exams can ensure that they have the visual skills they need to do well in school. Routine eye exams can also lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of common vision and eye health problems including:
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Strabismus (crossed eyes)
Refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism)
What is involved in children's eye care?
As a parent, it is not always easy to tell if your child is suffering from a vision problem. That is why it is important to ensure your child's vision is being screened at routine health visits with his or her primary care provider. At these screenings, providers will evaluate for proper tracking of the eyes, eye alignment, tearing or discharge, normal responses to light, and when your child is older, vision as measured by an eye chart. If you or your child's physician have any concern regarding your child's eye health or if there are eye conditions that have affected other family members at a young age, a comprehensive ophthalmic exam should be performed by an eye doctor.
Reasons to bring your child to the eye doctor
Early diagnosis of childhood vision problems is essential. Children are more responsive to treatment of eye diseases and problems when they are diagnosed in the early stages. Routine eye exams are needed to detect nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, as well as screen for binocular vision problems like amblyopia and strabismus.
Parents also need to understand the link between visual skills and learning in early childhood. To function in a classroom and absorb what is going on around them children need basic visual skills like:
Decent distance and near vision
Acceptable peripheral vision
Good hand-eye coordination
This is why it is important to bring children to the eye doctor before they enter school and continue scheduling eye screenings as they progress in their education.
Providing eye care for children
Eye examinations are different at every stage of a child's development.
The initial screenings for infants at six months are very basic; the doctor will test for:
Eye examinations for preschool-aged and school-aged children will also include:
Be sure to schedule regular eye examinations for your children to ensure that vision problems are not hindering them.