HELP YOUR CHILD SET THEIR SIGHTS ON CLEAR VISION
As a parent, you want your child to have access to the best of everything, especially when they need it. At Maryland Eye Care Center, we work tirelessly to help ensure you have a team dedicated to caring for your child’s vision and eye health.
Eye conditions can develop at any age, making it important that your child has regular eye exams. Early detection can set your child on the right path to clear, healthy, binocular vision.
Please, book your appointment today.
WHY ARE EYE EXAMS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR CHILD?
When your child is first born, they have limited capabilities when it comes to their vision. Over time, however, these skills change and develop, allowing your child to see further distances and navigate and inspect the world around them.
At any time your child might start to develop vision problems. Children can’t always express that they are having an issue with their sight and may not even realize it. Some conditions may possibly permanently affect their ability to see.
You can help protect your child’s vision and safeguard their ocular development by taking them for regular eye exams. Eye examinations are the best way to detect, manage, and mitigate any potential issues that may arise during your child’s ocular development.
WHEN SHOULD YOUR CHILD HAVE AN EYE EXAM?
You should have an eye doctor or medical professional examine your child’s eyes just after they are born. This examination will help determine how well your child’s eyes are responding to different types of stimuli and confirm that they are healthy. Note that if your child is born prematurely, or if their doctor considers their eyes to be at risk of developing issues, they should have an eye exam performed by an ophthalmologist.
Infant & Toddler
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends children have an eye exam once before their first birthday, and again when they turn 3 years old. Around this age your child may develop amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed-eyes or eye turn). Early detection and treatment can protect your child from vision loss caused by these issues.
The next eye exam should take place around 5 years old. Your eye doctor can ensure your child’s eyes are developing correctly and they are seeing well before starting school.
AAO recommends all children have eye exams annually upon entering school. Annual exams can help your eye doctor monitor their eyes for problems like refractive or alignment issues. Some of the visual skills needs for success in school include:
- Near Vision. The ability to see clearly and comfortably at a normal reading distance of 10-13 inches.
- Distance Vision. The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach.
- Binocular coordination. The ability to use both eyes together.
- Eye movement skills. The ability to aim the eyes correctly, move smoothly, and shift them quickly and accurately.
- Focusing skills. The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance and to change focus quickly.
- Peripheral awareness. The awareness of things located to the sides while looking straight ahead.
- Eye/hand coordination. The ability to use the eyes and hands together.
HOW TO SPOT PROBLEMS WITH YOUR CHILD’S VISION
In some cases, your child may not know they have a vision problem, or they may not be able to communicate their problem to you. However, there are signs you can look for as a parent to help determine if your child has an eye problem. Some of these signs include:
- Rubbing their eyes frequently.
- Trouble keeping their place while reading.
- Covering one eye to watch television or read.
- Sitting close to the television or holding a book close to their face.
- Frequent headaches.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR CHILD’S EYE EXAM
Eye exams for children can be straightforward, quick, and comfortable. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a calming experience while supplying the care your child deserves.
During the exam, your doctor will take your child’s and your family’s health history to ensure it is correct and up to date. Your doctor will also have a conversation with you regarding your child’s eyes, addressing any questions or concerns you may have.
Your doctor will then check your child’s acuity and refraction. Some of the most common tools used during this part of the exam include an eye chart and a phoropter. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t know their letters yet, or is even too young to talk. We have numerous ways to check their vision.
Your doctor will check their eye muscles and binocular vision to make sure they are developing normally, then examine your child’s eyes for signs of eye diseases. If your doctor detects any issues, they will provide you and your child with a strategy to manage and possibly mitigate their effects.
If your child needs glasses, we will invite them to visit our incredible optical team who will help your child find the perfect pair of glasses. Our opticians will also take precise measurements of your child’s face to help make sure their glasses sit correctly and comfortably.
If your child needs contact lenses, our opticians can help teach your child how to use and look after their contacts properly. This will help ensure your child uses their contacts safely.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR AN EYE EXAM
Here are some tips on how to help ensure your child’s eye exam is a positive experience:
- Make an appointment during your child’s best time of day and allow about one hour for the appointment.
- Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child to ask questions.
- Explain the examination in terms your child will understand, for example, comparing the eye chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights
IS YOUR CHILD DUE FOR AN EYE EXAM?
It is never too late to make sure your child’s eyes are developing properly. Please, book your appointment today and help safeguard your child’s vision.