Importance of Eye Exams in Children - Monterey Bay Eye Center

Importance of Eye Exams in Children

Date posted: September 23, 2015   |   Tagged with:

Child Eye ExamsOur eyes are, without a doubt, the most important sense that we have. 80% of what we learn is through our eyes. So if your child has vision problems, it’s severely impeding their ability to learn well in school. Carrots won’t correct their vision, so it’s time for you to schedule them for an eye exam to properly check their eyes. Here are a few reasons why you should schedule an eye exam for children, even they don’t wear glasses or contacts.

Early Development

The first few years of your child’s life are crucial for development not just in the body, but in the eyes as well. 25% of young children have vision problems, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). Most of these problems can be caught early and treated with the aid of an eye exam.

Learning

Since most of what we process is through our eyes, vision problems will certainly affect a student’s ability to perform well in school. Here are some skills an eye exam measures.

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Focusing
  • Near vision
  • Binocular coordination (two eyes coordination)
  • Eye movement
  • Peripheral vision
  • Distance vision

All of these tests play a role in a student’s ability to see properly.

Eye Problems

80% of vision problems can be fixed or prevented. An eye exam catches and diagnoses these issues. Here are some vision problems students may have that can be corrected.

Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Lazy eye is when the vision in one eye is better than the other. In less severe cases, these can be fixed using normal prescription eyeglasses/contacts. An eye patch to make the weaker eye stronger may be used in more severe scenarios.

Strabismus (eye misalignment)

Eye misalignment may be caused by (but not limited to) poor muscles in the eye. This negatively impacts vision and may be fixed in the same way as a lazy eye.

Myopia (nearsightedness)

One of the most common eye problems that affects nearly 30% of Americans. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved. This results in the eye only being able to see objects up close. Nearsightedness is commonly found and treated in school-age children. It can be corrected with contact lenses, eyeglasses, or refractive surgery.

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Farsightedness is when your eyes can see objects from afar but not up close. It is caused by a short eyeball or no curvature in the cornea. It’s commonly fixed using eyeglasses, contact lenses, or eye surgery.

Astigmatism

An astigmatism is caused by an oddly shaped cornea, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. Just like myopia and hyperopia, astigmatism can be treated using contact lenses, eyeglasses, or refractive surgery.

Color Vision and Depth Perception

Depth perception allows our eyes to determine the distance between objects. Color tests help determine how well your eyes can distinguish colors. Both of these can only be accurately diagnosed with an eye exam.

When Should My Child Get an Eye Exam?

The AOA recommends scheduling eye exams for infants at 6 months of age. The next exam should be at 3 years old, then once again at 5 or 6. After that, an eye exam is only needed every 2 years. For children that use glasses or contacts, an eye exam is needed every year or as recommended by the optometrist/ophthalmologist.

Conclusion

Eye exams in children are important for the reasons stated above. It will make learning much easier, and diagnosing problems now will make them less of a problem in the future.

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