Most of our blogs center around general eye health and the conditions that may affect adults as they grow older. However, there is also need to discuss the vision and eye health needs of children. In honor of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we want to take a look at some important details that may be missed.
Eye Care is Necessary and Should Start Early
Throughout the early years of life, a child may see the pediatrician at least once a year. These general health visits are crucial to progressive development. Likewise, eye exams are integral to a child’s physical and academic development. When a child doesn’t see clearly, she may have difficulty engaging in sports as she gets older. Young students with poor eyesight may struggle to maintain grades, and lose a sense of confidence because of it.
Now that we know why it is important for children to see the eye doctor let’s talk timing.
The first eye exam should be performed at about six months of age. An infant’s vision is in a constant progressive stage. Before six months, the infant sees only high-contrast colors, such as red and black and white. Objects that are mid to far distance away cannot be observed before six months of age, either. This age is a landmark regarding vision, and an opportune time to evaluate the way the eyes are working together.
Subsequent eye exams are ideally performed between age 3 and 4, and then before a child begins kindergarten. Once a child is school-aged, annual eye exams should be the norm.
What the Eye Exam is All About
Eye exams for any person of any age are intended for more than vision assessment. In children, eye exams may alert parents to the presence of astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness, all conditions that may require corrective eyewear. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is also easily detected early in life, and also easily treated at this time (using an eye patch).
One Cannot Assume
When it comes to children and their quality of vision, one cannot make an assumption that the child will speak up. Clues such as squinting or complaining of tired or irritated eyes may be all a child offers. To ensure the health of your child’s eyes, talk with your pediatrician about a pediatric eye exam.