Vision Health for Young Children
Pediatric Optometrist in Houston
When it comes to keeping children, healthy and ensuring proper childhood development, annual visits to pediatricians are important. But what most parents don’t realize is that annual eye exams are equally important.
Early detection of children’s vision problems is essential to make sure your kids have the visual skills they need to do well in school, sports and other activities.
Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses. It plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. In fact, 80 percent of what children learn is acquired through visual processing of information.
From infancy on, there are important milestones in your child’s vision development. For example, during the first several months of life, a baby can focus only on objects up close.
These objects will be seen in high contrast colors only, such as black, white and red. But by 6 months of age, your child’s visual acuity should be much sharper, with more accurate color vision and better eye movement and hand coordination skills.
To make sure your child’s eyes are functioning properly and working together as a team during the early formative years, schedule his or her first eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months of age (Recommendation from the American Optometrist Association, AOA).
Otherwise, a lifetime of poor vision in one or both eyes could occur. Many eye conditions have no symptoms that can be identified by a parent or in a well-child check-up.
Early detection is the best way to ensure your child has healthy eyes and appropriate development of vision, now and in the future.
During pre-school years from ages 3-6, your child will be fine-tuning the vision and visual skills he already has developed during the infant and toddler years. Pre-school vision tasks vary with a child’s age.
It has been estimated that only 14 percent of children under the age of 6 years of age have received professional eye care.
Of children 3-5 years of age seen by pediatricians, only 66 percent received vision screens. Study shows that only 26 percent of children who failed the vision screening were referred for a professional eye exam.
Having a complete eye exam before your child enters school allows enough time to catch and correct any vision problems that may interfere with learning.
For this reason, pre-school children without symptoms should receive another eye exam right before school, the AOA says.
Yearly exams should be done to stay on top of your child’s visual needs, as well as ensure that your child’s prescription for eyeglasses is still correct.
It is estimated that nearly 25 percent of school-age children have a vision problem. Among the 20 percent of school-aged children who have learning disabilities in reading, 70 percent have some form of visual impairment.
Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and the leading cause of handicapping conditions in childhood.
In spite of the high prevalence of vision disorders in this population, studies show that only 31 percent of children between 6 and 16 years of age are likely to have a comprehensive professional eye examination within the past year.
If you have children between the ages of 3 and 6, be aware of these warning signs of possible pre-school vision problems:
Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
- Tilting the head to see better
- Frequently rubbing eyes, even when not sleepy
- Shielding eyes or other signs of sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing and watery eyes
- Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
- Avoiding activities that require near vision, such as coloring or reading or distance vision, such as playing ball or tag
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- Schedule an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist if your preschooler exhibits any of these signs.
Pediatric Optometrist in Houston.
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