The Importance of Pediatric Exams
Pedro Gomez OD
A thorough eye exam is an often-overlooked doctor’s appointment for most children in their developmental years. However, a comprehensive exam for young children is an absolute must to ensure proper development and healthy eyes. This is especially true when kids are too young to talk. Many severe conditions that affect children’s eyes aren’t painful, so they won’t cry or vocalize the issue in a manner that the parents can understand. Only an optometrist with special equipment can determine if there is an immediate issue that requires intervention and treatment.
More often than not, poor eyesight is inherited from the parents or grandparents of a child. If you have a family of eyeglass wearers, this is all the more reason for us to evaluate and treat your child for what may be looming in their future. There are many visual options available to kids that can help to slow the worsening of their vision and give them a better quality of life.
How Does the Pediatric Exam Work?
Our experienced eye doctors are specially trained to examine pediatric patients during their eye exam. They use special tools and techniques that don’t require the child to give the doctor any feedback, which is especially useful for children that are too young to talk. All of the measurements are completely painless and designed for children with shorter attention spans. We even have special eye charts designed with pictures instead of letters for toddlers that can speak, but don’t quite know their ABC’s.
When Should My Child Have Their First Eye Exam?
A child’s first exam should occur well before they enter preschool. This is to ensure that they can focus on objects at a distance as well as up close. It’s hard for a teacher to do their job if the student can’t see what is happening at the front of the classroom.
The timing of the first exam is important because if a visual impairment is left undiagnosed, the brain adapts to the blurry vision. It becomes the baseline, and the child may never know what the world around them is supposed to look like with perfect sight.
Can My Child Fake an Eye Exam?
We get asked this question a lot from parents. Sometimes parents are worried that their child desires glasses, so their child will intentionally get the questions “wrong” in an exam. Other times, parents are worried that our doctors will somehow miss something and be outwitted by a child. There is absolutely no possibility of any of the above situations happening with our eye doctors and the equipment they use. The only outcome from the exam will be scientific facts, measurements, and a diagnosis.
How Do I know If My Older Child Needs an Exam?
Not all children are able to make it in for their first exam until they start to have problems at school. In many cases, the school nurse will do an annual screening where a child has to read an eye chart in the office. This is not an eye exam and only catches problems well after they should have been treated. Regardless, there are some signs to keep an eye out for.
Children who are having eye problems at a grade school age will show signs of:
- Lower than expected reading comprehension
- Poor handwriting
- Frequent squinting
- Turning their head to one side to favor the right or left eye when focusing
- Short attention span
- Eyelid twitching
- Avoidance of reading
- Constantly losing their place while reading
Pedro Gomez OD.
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