Vision screenings at school and at the pediatrician’s ofﬁce are important, but they are not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination performed by a trained eye specialist. Children, as well as infants, should be evaluated closely to ensure proper visual development during those critical years. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), all children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age, at age 3 and again at the start of school.
Our ofﬁce is of course kid-friendly and happy to see your little ones!
For some children, the way they see is, to them, just the way it is! Young people with vision problems are often unaware that not everyone sees the way that they do and that it is possible to have much more comfortable and clearer vision. Children, especially under five, cannot articulate to Mom and Dad that everything the see is blurry. They think Mom and Dad see the trees as big green blobs as well! Children with uncorrected vision disorders can face many obstacles both academically and athletically, as well as socially. Our goal is to give your child the tools to reach their highest potential.
As eye care providers, we are not so concerned about the children that are flagged on a school or pediatrician's vision screening - we know those children will be seen and diagnosed properly. It's the children that pass that we worry about. Often these screenings give parents a false sense of security about their child's vision. School vision screenings usually center around one or two areas of vision, namely acuity or a 20/20 measurement, but are not looking at how well the eyes focus or how they work together to provide a clear, single image. Often color vision and depth perception are not tested, both of which are important to the learning process. Even if a vision screening does not identify a vision disorder, a child could still have one.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents should look for:
-Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
-Tilting their head
-Frequently rubbing their eyes
-Short attention span for the child's age
-Turning of an eye in or out
-Sensitivity to light
-Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
-Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
Doctors will ensure your young child is able to fixate on an object and follow that object in his/her visual field. We look at the way their pupils response to light; an abnormal response could indicate a neurological problem. We also dilate the pupil to rule out rare, but serious medical conditions such as retinoblastoma,pediatric glaucoma,congenital cataracts, just to name a few. It is perfectly safe to dilate your young child's eyes and they will experience the same mild side effects you might, including blurred vision at close range and light sensitivity. The doctor will use a technique calledretinoscopy to determine if glasses are needed and an accurate prescription if this is case. By looking at the pattern of reflection from the back of the eye, the doctor is able to determine the refractive error - i.e. the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. It's quick, painless, and requires minimal cooperation from the child. Our doctor and staff are skilled at making a trip to the eye doctor a great experience for your little one - from start to finish.