Healthy vision is one of the most important components of a child’s overall wellness. Starting at birth, vision develops rapidly and is associated with many developmental milestones, such as reading and hand-eye coordination. Over time, your child’s vision will impact how they learn, play and interact with the world around them.
Some optical problems may be easier to spot than others. In fact, many vision disorders can only be detected by a qualified eye doctor during a comprehensive eye exam. The team at Mercer Island Family Eye Care is experienced in pediatric eye care. Rest assured that we’ll do whatever it takes to help your child enjoy the best possible vision.
Is your child having difficulty seeing?
Vision problems aren’t always obvious in children. Some symptoms may be more noticeable, such as squinting or holding reading materials very close. Often, however, these early signs are subtle and therefore frequently missed.
Your child may be experiencing a vision problem if he or she does any of the following:
- Avoids reading and other close-up activities, such as coloring or doing puzzles
- Seems to work more slowly or have difficulty understanding relatively easy tasks
- Frequently complains of headaches or fatigue
- Has a short attention span or is easily distracted
- Tilts head or covers one eye when trying to focus on something
- Has unusual light sensitivity
- Experiences difficulty with coordination
Common Eye Disorders in Children
Your child’s vision can be affected by many things, including the shape of the eye, how the brain and eyes work together, and even other unrelated medical conditions. Fortunately, most pediatric eye disorders can be identified and treated for a positive outcome.
The most common pediatric optical problems are caused by the shape and alignment of the eyes, including:
Strabismus, which occurs when the eyes are not properly aligned. This is often referred to as “cross- eyed.”
Amblyopia, which is sometimes referred to as “lazy eye.” This occurs when one eye has weaker vision than the other. Amblyopia generally presents before the age of eight. Infants born prematurely or at a low birth weight tend to be at a higher risk of developing amblyopia.
Refractive Errors can result in blurry vision due to the shape of the eyeball or lens. These common conditions can usually be treated through the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses.
There are three types of refractive errors:
- Myopia, or nearsightedness, which is good close-up vision but poor distance vision.
- Hyperopia, or farsightedness, which is poor up-close vision but good distance vision.
- Astigmatism, which is imperfect vision regardless of distance.
When should a child have his or her first eye exam?
Routine eye exams are a critical component of your child’s wellbeing and ability to learn. Many parents mistakenly believe that school screenings are the same as comprehensive eye exams. The truth is, even with 20/20 vision, your child may still have problems that only an experienced eye doctor will be able to detect.
Newborns typically have their eyes examined before leaving the hospital. From there, leading medical organizations recommend comprehensive eye exams for health, vision development, and alignment at the following intervals:
- Between 6 and 12 months
- 3 years of age
- Every other year throughout the school years
Let’s work together to help your child reach his or her highest potential. Schedule an appointment at Mercer Island Family Eye Care today.
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- 2448 76th Ave SE, Suite 106
- Mercer Island, WA 98040
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