When should your children have a comprehensive eye exam?
● According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.
Why does your child need a comprehensive eye exam?
- Pediatrician and school screenings do not take the place of a comprehensive eye exam. They are intended to pick up only the most basic of vision issues.
- Vision problems affect learning – 25% of children have a vision problem that can cause difficulty in learning and / or behavior. Most children learn visually and numerous eye or vision issues can cause difficulty while trying to learn.
- 80% of learning is visual but only 14% of children get eye exams.
- While some children with a “lazy eye” (also known as amblyopia) are easy to spot, most are not. A common cause of amblyopia is a difference in the prescription between their eyes which many times goes undetected but can cause permanent reduced vision and visual function.
- There is a lot more to a child’s vision than just seeing clearly. Their eyes need to:
- Work together comfortably (binocular vision) or (eye teaming)
- Focus properly
- Track properly and accurately (eye movement skills)
- Perceive depth, color and a full field of peripheral vision
- Be healthy – we will dilate their pupils to examine all parts of their eyes
- Coordinate properly with their hands
What are some signs there might already be a problem?
● Declining performance in school
● Avoiding or not liking reading
● Short attention span
● Difficulty throwing or catching a ball, copying from a chalkboard or tying their shoes
● Pulling a book in close to their face, or sitting too close to a TV
● Lots of blinking or eye rubbing
● Guiding their eyes with a finger, pencil or straight edge while reading
Take action, your child has no understanding of what it means to see properly. Don’t leave their eye health up to them; make sure they get a quality eye exam. Help ensure that your child does their very best in school and in life
Why is sun protection so important for our children’s eyes?
● Children spend more time outside than adults do, some experts estimate that half of a person’s lifetime UV (ultraviolet) exposure may occur before 18 years of age.
● UV light transmission through our lens decreases significantly as we age:
○In a 10 year old greater than 75% of UV light is getting to the retina.
○In a 25 year old that transmission drops to 10%, the damage is already done!
● As much as 80% of all of the damage patients experience may well happen before age 18.
● UV radiation damage is cumulative.
If the eye is so susceptible to UV damage at a young age what can be done to protect it?
● While putting on sunscreen always remember the sunglasses as well
● Find sunglasses that fit, that block 100% UVA and UVB radiation
● Find sunglasses that your child will like, if they like them they are more likely to wear them
● The best style for blocking UV wrap around the side of their head to help block the UV entering from the all angles.
● Hats can also help reduce the overall amount of UV getting to the eyes