Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vision and Eyeglasses for Children

Guest post by Hillary Rubin

When I was in elementary school, I told my parents I needed glasses. My dad thought it was because I wanted to look just like my older sister who had just gotten glasses. In reality, I actually needed glasses. My 3rd grade teacher confirmed for my parents that I was squinting a lot just to see the board. One eye exam later, I had new eyeglasses ... that looked just like my older sister’s frames.

Children often have a hard time communicating their thoughts and feelings, and adults generally have a hard time interpreting what their child is trying to say. For these reasons, we may not notice when our child is having a hard time seeing and may need eyeglasses. Eye problems can develop in children as early as their pre-school years. Around 10% of all pre-schoolers have vision problems. While most kids may not receive their first eye exam until kindergarten or first grade, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends having your child’s eyes tested as early as six months old because early detection means early correction and prevention of other problems.

The basic, informal eye exam that takes place at your child’s school may be basic enough to detect a slight ocular problem, but taking your child to the ophthalmologist once every two years will benefit your child’s vision. An ophthalmologist can check your child’s peripheral vision, as well as his near and distance vision that may need correction with prescription glasses.

If your child is in the toddler years, detecting an eye problem may be easier than you think. If your child is telling you that things look funny, or if you’re watching him read or draw and you notice him squinting or failing to focus on the activity, it may be a sign that your child needs to have his vision tested. Your child may not need prescription eyeglasses, but having his eyes checked at an early age can help prevent vision problems later on in life.


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