Eye Exams for Kids at our London, ON office!
As a parent, you may wonder whether your pre-schooler has a vision problem or when a first eye test ought to be set up.
Eye exams for youngsters are incredibly important. Experts say 5 to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged youngsters have vision troubles. Early recognition of a child’s vision problem is important due to the fact that, if left without treatment, some early vision problems can cause irreversible vision loss.
When should kids have their eyes examined?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), babies should have their first thorough eye exam at 6 months of age. Children thenneed to have additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and before they start kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.
For school-aged youngsters, the AOA recommends an eye examination every two years if no vision correction is needed. Children who need glasses or contact lenses ought to be examined yearly or according to their eye doctor’s recommendations.
Early eye tests also are necessary due to the fact that kids need the following basic visual skills for learning:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Eye teaming (binocularity) skills
- Eye motion skills
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Eye/hand coordination
Due to the value of good vision for learning, some states require an eye examination for all youngsters going into school for the first time.
Scheduling your child’s eye exam
Your family physician or pediatrician likely will be the first medical professional to assess your child’s eyes. A recommendation may be made to an eye doctor or optometrist for further examination if eye problems or eye diseases are suspected during routine physical assessments. Eye doctors have specific devices and training to assist them in detecting and diagnosing potential vision issues.
When scheduling an eye test, choose a time when your youngster is generally alert and calm. Specifics of how eye tests are performed depend upon your youngster’s age, however an examination generally will include a case history, vision screening, determination of whether glasses are required, testing of eye positioning, an eye wellness examination and a meeting with you regarding the findings.
After you’ve made the appointment, you might receive a case history form by mail, or you may be given one when you arrive at the doctor’s office. The case history form will inquire about your child’s birth history (also called perinatal history), such as birth weight and whether the child was full-term. Your optometrist might ask about any complications during the pregnancy or delivery. The form will also ask about your child’s medical history, including present medications and previous or current allergies.
Be sure to tell your optometrist if your youngster has a history of prematurity, delayed motor development, takes part in frequent eye rubbing, blinks often, fails to keep eye contact, can’t maintain a gaze (fixation) while looking at stationary objects, has poor eye tracking abilities or has failed a pediatrician or pre-school vision screening.
Your London, ON optometrist will want to know about previous eye diagnoses and treatments for your child, such as surgeries, glasses or contact lens wear. Be sure you notify your eye doctor if there is history in the family of eye troubles requiring vision correction, such as farsightedness or nearsightedness, misaligned eyes (strabismus) or amblyopia (“lazy eye“).
Why is an eye exam so essential for children before they start school? Watch this video to find out:
Eye testing for babies
It takes some time for a baby’s vision abilities to become apparent. To assess whether your infant’s eyes are developing properly, your eye doctor might use one of the following tests:
- Tests of pupil responses examine whether the eye’s pupil opens and closes appropriately in the presence or absence of light.
- “Fixate and follow” testing determines whether your baby can fixate on things (such as a light) and follow it as it moves. Babies should have the ability to accomplish this task well by the time they are 3 months old.
- Preferential looking includes the use of cards that are blank on one side with stripes on the other side to attract the gaze of a baby to the stripes. In this way, vision capabilities can be evaluated.
Eye testing for pre-school children
If they don’t yet understand the alphabet or are too shy or too young to answer the physician’s questions, pre-school youngsters can still have their eyes completely tested. Common eye tests generally used for young children include:
- LEA Symbols for young children are similar to routine eye tests making use of charts with letters, except that special symbols in these tests include an apple, house, circle and square.
- Retinoscopy is a test that involves shining a light into the eye and observing how it reflects back from the retina (the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye). This test helps optometrists determine the child’s glass prescription.
- Random Dot Stereopsis makes use of dot patterns to figure out how well the two eyes work as a team.
Eye and vision problems that impact children
Besides looking for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (refractive errors), your optometrist will be assessing your youngster’s eyes for indications of these eye and vision issues typically found in kids:
- Amblyopia. Frequently called “lazy eye,” this is reduced vision in one or both eyes in spite of the absence of any eye health issue or damage. Often amblyopia is caused by strabismus (see below) and a significant difference in the refractive errors of the two eyes. Treatment of amblyopia could include covering the dominant eye to strengthen the weaker eye.
- Strabismus. This is misalignment of the eyes, typically triggered by a congenital defect in the positioning or strength of the muscles that are connected to the eye and which regulate eye positioning and motion. Left without treatment, strabismus can cause amblyopia in the misaligned eye. Depending upon its cause and extent, surgical treatment could be needed to treat strabismus.
- Convergence insufficiency. This is the inability to keep the eye easily aligned for reading and other close jobs. Convergence insufficiency can typically be treated effectively with vision therapy, a particular program of eye exercises.
- Focusing issues. Children with focusing problems (also called accommodation problems) may have trouble altering their focus from distance to near and back once more (accommodative infacility), or have issues keeping enough focus for reading (accommodative insufficiency). These issues can often be effectively treated with vision therapy.
- Eye teaming problems. Lots of eye teaming (binocularity) issues are more subtle than strabismus. Insufficiencies in eye teaming skills can cause problems with depth perception and coordination.
Vision and learning
Specialists state that 80% of what your youngster learns in school is taught visually. Untreated vision troubles can put children at a substantial disadvantage. Be certain to arrange that your child has a complete eye exam before school starts.