Four Ways Poor Vision Can Affect Learning In ChildrenFebruary 12, 2018
As a parent, you want your kids to be healthy so they can grow and thrive. That’s why you likely schedule regular appointments with your pediatrician. However, most parents don’t realize that annual eye exams for children should also be part of the yearly medical routine.
So, when should you take your child to the eye doctor for the first time and why are annual eye exams important for your kids’ health?
Annual eye exams should start when children become preschool age.
80% of learning happens through vision. Because of this, most eye doctors agree that annual eye exams for children should start when kids become preschool age (three to four years old).
Clear vision is crucial at this period because important developmental milestones are happening, and poor vision can affect learning, attention span, reading, and more. Thus, poor vision can make school frustrating for children, parents, and teachers.
When should your infant or toddler see an eye doctor?
If you have an infant or toddler and notice any of the following, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with a pediatric optometrist right away:
- Abnormal appearance (white pupil, eye bulging, etc.)
- Excessive tearing
- Eye turning (eyes aren’t focusing in the same direction)
- Sensitivity to light
Your pediatrician can also help you care for your child’s vision. Until kids are old enough to attend school, most see a pediatrician frequently. Your pediatrician should conduct a basic vision screening at every appointment. If he or she notices vision abnormalities before your child turns three or four, the pediatrician will encourage you to schedule an eye exam with a pediatric optometrist.
Poor vision can cause delays for young child children (walking, crawling, pulling himself or herself up, etc.), but with the help of a pediatric eye doctor, vision issues can often be corrected.
As your kids get older, contact an eye doctor if you notice these symptoms.
Hopefully, annual eye exams will be enough to notice changes in your child’s vision and catch these issues before they become a problem. However, if your child is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, it’s best to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible:
- Losing his/her place while reading
- Confusing similar-looking words
- Failing to recognize the same word in the next sentence
- Showing signs of poor reading comprehension
- Writing sloppily
- Complaining of eyes hurting, headaches, or double vision
- Avoiding close work (such as reading and writing)
- Struggling to concentrate and pay attention
- Squinting or reading with one eye closed
Bringing your child in for an exam can help any eye doctor analyze vision issues and get to the root of the problem.
What can be detected with an eye exam?
Most pediatric eye doctors perform developmental vision evaluations. These evaluations measure visual acuity or sharpness of vision, eye teaming (the ability of the eyes to work together), eye movement, and focusing to ensure your child’s vision is on track.
Eye exams for children can detect:
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Misalignment of eyes
- Inability to focus
- Poor depth perception
- Color blindness
- Eye strain
- Double vision
- And more
In addition to vision issues, eye exams can also detect diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and other underlying health issues. This makes annual eye exams important for both your child’s visual and overall health.
Don’t wait until you notice your children squinting, frequently rubbing their eyes, or struggling to see the board to take them to the eye doctor. Scheduling routine eye exams for children is crucial to preventative care and a great way to avoid bigger vision problems in the future!
EPF Kids is a pediatric optometry practice in Lafayette, Indiana. EPF Kids’ eye doctors and staff strive to make visiting the eye doctor a fun, comfortable experience for kids. Call the office to schedule an appointment, and follow EPF on Facebook.