Children’s Eye Exam
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that pre-school children receive a complete eye exam at the ages of 6 months, 3 years, and 5 years. It is particularly important that children have a complete evaluation in the summer prior to entry into kindergarten. While in school, yearly evaluations are highly recommended. Boas Vision Associates is proud to participate with InfantSEE, a public health program managed by the American Optometric Association, designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. Under this program, our doctors provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service.
It is important for parents to understand that their child may have 20/20 eyesight, but still have a vision problem. Optometry believes good vision consists of three components: the ability to see small detail (clarity), the ability to read or use the eyes for long periods of time without fatigue (comfort), and the ability to analyze and interpret visual input (processing skills).
Ability To See Small Detail
Having 20/20 eyesight is definitely important. However, seeing clearly does not guarantee comfortable vision. There are many individuals who see very clearly yet find it difficult to read or concentrate for more than a few minutes. Conditions such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism can cause blurry vision. These conditions are usually easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Ability To See Comfortably
Many children may see clearly with or without correction, yet still have significant vision problems. Conditions such as eye teaming, eye focusing, and tracking problems are not discovered during a school or pediatric vision screening and can cause serious learning issues. If a child has difficulty controlling the coordination of his/her eyes, is unable to maintain focus or has difficulty aiming his/her eyes and scanning along a line of print, or accurately interpreting what the eyes are seeing, the result may be the need to use extra effort to overcome these problems, leading to discomfort and fatigue.
Ability To Process Visual Information
Just because a child can see clearly and comfortably does not guarantee he/she will be able to make use of the incoming information. The ability to analyze and interpret visual input is sometimes referred to as visual processing or visual perceptual skills. Optometrists believe this is an important aspect of vision, particularly for children in grades 1st through 4th. These skills are important when a young child is no longer learning to read, but reading to learn. In some children, the development of visual perceptual skills does not keep pace with the child’s growth in other areas. This type of lag can lead to difficulty during the early grades in school.
Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program prescribed to eliminate or improve conditions such as eye teaming, focusing, eye tracking disorders, lazy eye (amblyopia), and crossed eyes (strabismus). Special lenses, prisms, filters, instruments, and an advanced computer system are all utilized in vision therapy. There are a significant number of research studies supporting the effectiveness of vision therapy for the treatment of eye teaming, focusing, tracking, and visual processing problems. New data from recently completed randomized clinical trials has shown that office-based vision therapy with home reinforcement is more effective than home-based vision therapy.
It is very important to take your children for eye exams on a regular basis. Pediatric eye care incorporates special techniques and technology to ensure accurate testing and help us accommodate young children.
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