When to Start Eye Exams on Children

As the saying goes, our eyes are windows to the world. Even truer for children, who primarily experience and learn about the world through their eyes. Eighty percent of learning, in fact, is based on vision. Every shape, color, texture, and movement that they see not only improves their visual skills but also contributes to their mental and emotional development.

By ensuring that your child has healthy eyes and vision, you can have the peace of mind that they fully experience the world and learn fully well, whether inside a classroom setting or outside.

Why have children’s eyes examined?

Visual impairments are not obvious to the untrained eye. Ophthalmologists and optometrists have the knowledge, the training, and the tools for detecting signs of vision problems and assessing the health of your child’s eyes. Even the mildest eye ailment can potentially impact a child’s learning ability, and if unchecked, may develop into more serious eye problems.

When to start eye exams on children

There are many opinions on when a child should have an exam. However, eye doctors at Houston LASIK & Eye, a top eye care facility in Houston, recommends that infants have their first optometric exam between age six and nine months to determine if their eyes are developing normally. At this age, infants already first acquire eye movement control, and eye problems, such as congenital glaucoma, strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye), become apparent. It’s important that these problems are detected so they can be treated as early as possible. If left untreated, childhood glaucoma can lead to blindness. Strabismus can lead to loss of function in the affected eye. Amblyopia, on the other hand, is the leading cause of unilateral vision loss in children.

Healthy, well-functioning eyes are very important to the proper development of visual skills, such as depth perception, peripheral awareness, and distance vision. Between the ages of two and five, an additional eye exam is recommended. This is the period when children learn to draw, sort colors and shapes, fit or assemble pieces, write, and read, so it’s very important that they have strong visual skills for learning and for functioning. As part of the eye exam, the ophthalmologist will:

  • Check the eyes for signs of impairments and irregularities.
  •  Test your child for vision-related abilities such as color vision, focusing or accommodation ability, binocularity, and depth perception.

Recognizing the importance of good vision to learning, many states require vision screening for all children who are entering school for the first time. It is also recommended that children have their eyes examined yearly after starting school.

Is LASIK appropriate for children?

Research published in the January 2044 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggests, however, that LASIK may be beneficial for children with rare vision problems, such as bilateral high myopia and amblyopia. However, LASIK is not yet approved for patients age 18 and below by the Food and Drug Administration. Many surgeons are also hesitant to perform laser eye surgery on still-developing eyes.

Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478.

Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1771964/

http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/child-eye-exam

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