Children’s Eye Health Requires Attention
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which gives us the perfect opportunity to point out a few particulars that parents may not know. Usually, talk of vision problems goes hand in hand with aging. This shouldn’t be the case. Eye exams are as important to children as their yearly pediatric check-ups.
Six is the Magic Number
Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population simply doesn’t think about eye exams for young children. If anything, children may undergo general vision checks at school. This schedule is insufficient for the early detection and treatment of correctable eye conditions.
In truth, the first eye exam should occur at 6 months of age.
That may seem an unlikely age, simply picked out of a hat. Let’s explore this, though. From birth to six months, the eye is in rapid development. A baby goes from being able to see only bold colors such as black and red, and only objects that are a short distance away, from being able to see across a room. Scientific data suggests that by six months of age, the eyes are sufficiently formed and should be working well together. Without a formal eye exam, though, one may not know if the eyes are functioning as they should.
What are we Looking For?
Problems such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, may be detected at this initial eye exam, or during the subsequent exam, which should take place between ages 3 and 4. The early detection of this condition allows a child to be more easily treated with an eye patch to strengthen the weak eye, and to undergo such treatment well before entering school.
After starting school, children benefit the most from yearly eye exams; and not just a school screening. Testing that occurs at school (if this even happens anymore) is primarily a vision check, not a comprehensive examination of the structures of the eye.
In addition to amblyopia, a routine eye exam can uncover vision problems such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. Each of these may be managed with corrective eyeglasses.
A child’s development and well-being depend on being able to see well. To schedule an eye exam for your child, call the Eye Institute of Houston at (713) 668-7337.