Vancouver Optometrists & Eye Doctors

4466 West 10th Avenue
Call: 604-224-3937

When To Get Your Childs Vision Tested

Thursday, May 22, 2014 @ 08:05 AM
Author: admin

eyewear2

A lot of parents think that they need to wait until their child demonstrates signs of requiring glasses before they take them in for their first eye exam. This could actually be more harmful than helpful for your child. A childs preschool and kindergarten experiences are based on visual learning. This is where children learn by seeing shapes, letters, numbers, and colours. They begin to recognize sequences and patterns as well. If your childs vision is blurry due to an eye condition going unnoticed, this could make their early learning experiences very frustrating for your child. Unfortunately, most young children do not realize they have vision issues as blurry vision is likely all they have known, so they think it is normal to see things like that initially.

Generally speaking, the best time to test a childs vision is when they are between the ages of two and a half to three and a half. The testing for children of this age is rather different from the standard exam that is done on older children or adults. This is mainly because the childs speech is limited and the eye doctor will require working around this. It is important to note that your childs eyes will have been checked shortly after he/she is born to ensure they can see properly at that point. It is up to the parents to maintain these eye exams for their children on a regular basis.

What to Expect From an Eye Exam for Young Children

When you go to an eye exam for the first time with your little one, it is normal to feel a little bit anxious about the process as it is something new. Some parents find it is not a very nerve-wracking experience at all, while others find themselves shaken with nerves until the process is over. Generally, the eye doctor will use a series of lights hidden in toys to see if your child can see the light when it lights up. Simply put, if your child looks towards the light when it is lit up, you likely have nothing major to worry about.

When your child is about five years old, they should have their vision and eye alignment evaluated by an eyecare professional. This will assist in ensuring there are no major issues later down the line and that everything is developing properly. If either of these two tests are failed by your child, you should have them evaluated by your pediatrician or family doctor to ensure there are no other complications.

Once your child is five the eye care screenings are every two years unless your child wears corrective lenses. If you child wears glasses it is important to make an appointment once each year to ensure there is no change to their prescription. Children should always have an up-to-date prescription to ensure they are able to learn the most efficiently while they are at school or in any other learning environment.

Looking Out For Eye Issues Before They Become Serious

As with any condition, there are signs that your child is having difficulty with their vision before you go to an eye doctor. Even if you have taken your child to an eye doctor in the past, it is important to make sure that you keep an eye on them just in case they develop the need for glasses later on between eye doctor visits.

Children suffering from vision problems may rub their eyes constantly, they may experience extreme sensitivity to light, poor focusing, poor visual tracking of an object (following an object with their eyes), abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes after six months of age, chronic redness of the eyes, chronic tearing of the eyes, a white pupil instead of a black one, inability to see objects at a distance, inability to read the blackboard, squinting when looking at objects, difficulty reading, or sitting too close to the television. Should you notice any of these problems, or crossed eyes, you should have your child examined by an eye care professional immediately to ensure there is no permanent damage from the situation.

Common Eye Issues Children Have

Amblyopia, otherwise known as a lazy eye, is a very common issue that many children must deal with. This is basically poor vision in one eye that does not necessarily appear to be abnormal. The eye itself can appear completely normal. The two most common causes of this are crossed eyes and a difference in the refractive error between both of the eyes. If this is left untreated, amblyopia can cause irreversible vision loss in the affected eye. The best time to treat this issue is during preschool years, however, it is easily treatable as long as the child is seen by an eyecare professional earlier on.

Another common condition with children is a misalignment in the eyes known as strabismus. This may cause the eyes to turn inward in a cross eye fashion, they may turn outward, up or down as well. If the same eye is chronically misaligned it may result in other issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye). There are different treatments available for this that you may want to discuss with your eyecare professional such as patches, specially designed glasses, or surgery.

The most common condition that children suffer from today is refractive errors. This basically means that the shape of the eye does not bend the light properly making images blurry. These issues may cause amblyopia if they are left untreated. Nearsightedness (poor vision at a distance), farsightedness (poor vision close up), and astigmatism (the eye is basically shaped more like a football instead of rounded) are the most common issues known.

Glasses and Your Little One

If your child requires glasses, dont worry it is quite common in our society today. It is, however, a good idea to allow your child to pick out their own glasses as they are going to have to wear them. You want to ensure your child actually likes the glasses they pick out, otherwise they will be less likely to actually wear them. Plastic frames are the best for children aged two and younger. If your older child selects metal frames, it is a good idea to make sure they have spring hinges as those are known to be more durable. There are elastic straps that you can purchase to help keep glasses on your toddlers face if he/she is an active little one that likes to try to tear them off his/her face.

For children that require a high index lens, they are not going to be able to get plastic lenses as they require special lenses. Unfortunately, high-index-lens patients are limited to many options in terms of their lenses. However, they are often available in a thinner and lighter material than traditional glasses for children.

Children should have polycarbonate lenses (especially if they play sports) as it is a tough, shatterproof, transparent thermoplastic material that is used to make thin, light lenses. They are impact-resistant so they will not shatter while your child is wearing them; however, they are known to scratch more easily than plastic lenses. If you have a very young child it is likely to stick to the plastic lenses as it will prevent shattering and most scratches as long as they are cared for properly.

Maintaining the Healthiest Eyes Possible

Having healthy eyes is incredibly important during all stages of life. It is very important that you follow the advice that your eyecare professional gives you, and you should always go to eye exams once every two years for adults under 65 and once every year for your child. If you require more frequent visits than the standard amount, your eye care professional will let you know and make the appropriate appointments with you. As long as you follow the advice and guidance of your eyecare professional, most eye issues can be prevented or assisted with treatments, glasses, or contact lenses.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply