Stay Focused on your child's vision
Because vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the optometrist at least every two years, or more frequently, if specific problems or risk factors exist.
A good education for your child means good schools, good teachers and good vision. Your child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. So when his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. The basic vision skills needed for school use are:
The ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm's reach.
The ability to use both eyes together.
Eye movement skills:
The ability to aim the eyes accurately, move them smoothly across a page and shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another.
The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and to change focus quickly.
The ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead.
Eye/hand coordination. The ability to use the eyes and hands together.
PEDIATRIC EYE CARE SERVICES
School Age Children
If any of these or other vision skills are lacking or not functioning properly, your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain problems. As a parent, be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. Be sure to tell your optometrist if your child frequently:
Loses their place while reading;
Avoids close work;
Holds reading material closer than normal;
Tends to rub his or her eyes;
Turns or tilts head to use one eye only;
Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing;
Uses finger to maintain place when reading;
Omits or confuses small words when reading;
Consistently performs below potential.
Because vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the optometrist at least every two years, or more frequently, if specific problems or risk factors exist. If needed, the doctor can prescribe treatment including eyeglasses, contact lenses or vision therapy.
Remember, a school vision or pediatrician's screening is not a substitute for a thorough eye examination.
Things to keep your eye on
As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem, including:
A short attention span for the child's age
Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination in ball play and bike riding
Avoidance of coloring and puzzles and other detailed activities.
During the infant and toddler years, your child has been developing many vision skills and has been learning how to see. In the preschool years, this process continues as your child develops visually guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and the visual motor skills necessary to learn to read.
As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem, including a short attention span for the child's age; difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination in ball play and bike riding; avoidance of coloring and puzzles and other detailed activities.
There are everyday things that you can do at home to help your preschooler's vision develop as it should. These activities include reading aloud to your child and letting him or her see what you are reading; providing a chalkboard, finger paints and different shaped blocks and showing your child how to use
them in imaginative play; providing safe opportunities to use playground equipment like a jungle gym and balance beam; and allowing time for interacting with other children and for playing independently.
By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure your preschooler's vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct a vision development problem.
Here are several tips to make your child's optometric examination a positive experience:
Make an appointment early in the day. Allow about one hour.
Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child's questions.
Explain the examination in your child's terms, comparing the E chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and a kaleidoscope.
Unless your doctor of optometry advises otherwise, your child's next eye examination should be at age
By comparing test results of the two examinations, your optometrist can tell how well your child's vision is developing for the next major step...into the school years.