Did you know that during your child’s first twelve years, nearly 80% of learning depends upon their visual sense? An important part of your child’s overall health maintenance program is regular professional vision care. Because you can’t look through your child’s eyes, it’s impossible to accurately judge how well he or she sees. The only way to be sure that vision is developing normally is provide your child a comprehensive vision analysis by an eyecare professional.
Unless a need is identified earlier, your child should be given his or her first comprehensive eye examination by the age of three. The child’s eyes should be examined again before entering school. Do not confuse a vision screening, a brief check which tests how well a child sees an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet, with a comprehensive examination. Problems with near vision, eye coordination, and focusing are among the many problems not identified in a 20/20 screening.
* There are several problems which could affect your child’s vision:
- Astigmatism A condition in which the vertical and horizontal portions of the eye focus differently, causing blurriness at all distances.
- Nearsightedness (myopia) A condition in which close objects are seen more clearly than those at a distance. It is often first noticed in the early school years when a child squints to read the chalkboard or holds reading materials closer than normal.
- Farsightedness (hyperopia) A condition where far objects are seen more clearly than near ones.
- Lazy eye (amblyopia) Condition in which vision cannot be corrected to 20/20 even with eyeglasses or contact lenses. It affects about 2 percent of children. With early diagnosis and treatment, permanent vision loss can be avoided.
- Crossed-eyes (strabismus) Occurs when the eyes are not properly aligned with each other. This condition affects 4 percent of all children.
It is natural for your child top feel some apprehension with a new experience. Talk with your child about the examination prior to the visit. Encourage his or her questions. You can assure your child that the examination is completely painless. With today’s diagnostic equipment and tests, your child does not have to know the alphabet or how to read to have his or her eyes examined. Schedule the appointment for early in the day, so that your child will be well-rested and cooperative. To establish a case history, you will be asked a number of questions about your child’s general health, development, and symptoms you may have observed. This record will become a valuable reference in evaluating later development.