child wearing glasses

Importance of Early Vision Exams in Children

 

beaver squishmallow

 

Brown Beaver Squishmallow with Glasses

The best part of this Squishmallow, other than the fact that it's really soft and snuggly, is the fact that the glasses are not removable. This endearing pal is suitable for all ages and can be safely tucked into bed with a toddler, especially one who has just gotten a brand new pair of glasses!

 

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

-Helen Keller

 

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Identifying Children's Vision Problems 

Diagnosing potential problems with a child's vision as early as possible is crucial. If kids go for long periods of time with undiagnosed vision problems, this could interfere with their normal development. Visual cues play a huge role in the way babies learn, but if the world around them is blurry, they are unable to accurately process all the stimuli around them. Even a slight vision impairment can drastically impact a child's ability to learn and progress, not to mention effects on their quality of life. The good news is that most problems with vision can be easily corrected by wearing glasses. Here are some interesting facts to consider related eyesight in children.

 

child in glasses

 

  • Babies should have their vision evaluated between 6 and 12 months. Obviously the vision of babies cannot be tested using eye charts, but optometrists can utilize flashlights, small toys, and other objects to perform the valuation. If no problems are detected, a follow-up examination should happen around age 3 and then again before the child starts school. Sometimes a more serious problem is detected and children are referred to  highly trained medical doctors, or opthalmologists, for a more thorough exam.
  • A thorough eye exam goes beyond establishing 20/20 vision. There are many other visual deficits that are diagnosed and are likely contributors to behavioral and developmental challenges. Glasses, or sometimes even vision therapy, can help correct lazy eye,  strabismus (or cross eyes), double vision, and focusing problems. Children with visual impairment have a hard time concentrating on tasks, so it's important to address these issues as early as possible.
  • Exposure to sunlight is good for vision. It's no surprise that the increased amount of time kids are spending looking at screens is leading to an uptick in vision problems. Although more research is necessary, some doctors theorize that exposure to natural sunlight and more time outdoors can curtail the development or progression of myopia (near-sightedness). 
  • Watch for signs that a child may have a vision problem. Kids may not verbally express the fact that they are having difficulty seeing clearly, but there are lots of clues that point to a vision deficit. Children who rub their eyes a lot may be experiencing eye fatigue or strain that can be alleviated with glasses. Kids who complain of headaches and frequently squint their eyes may also have blurry vision.  Also, be on the lookout for little ones who hold objects like books or screens close to their faces. This may be a sign of myopia, and the only way they can clearly see is when something is within inches of their eyes. Finally, if you notice that children are covering an eye or tilting their heads when trying to focus, this could signal lazy eye (technically amblyopia) which can be easily corrected with lenses and therapy. 

 

girl wearing glasses

 

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