According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected. This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight. To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly. Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.
Pediatric Eye exams (ages 3-5) are extremely important for children in the detection of focusing difficulties, eye muscle teaming and coordination problems, visual perception abnormalities, and eye disease.
Vision Screenings from school nurses and pediatrician offices are helpful in detecting a potential eye condition but a comprehensive eye exam is recommended for a more conclusive diagnosis and treatment plan. Even with a serious eye or visual condition, many children may have no apparent signs or symptoms present. By identifying your child’s visual problems early, greater success can be achieved with treatment. If left untreated, some eye conditions and diseases may prevent normal visual development leaving permanent impairment. Annual routine exams should begin at age three to monitor for changes.
When scheduling an eye exam for your child, choose a time when he or she is usually alert and in a good mood. Be sure to tell us if your child has a history of delayed motor development, frequent eye rubbing, squinting, or head tipping or turning, fails to maintain eye contact, cannot keep visual fixation on an object, or has poor eye tracking. We will also want to know about previous ocular diagnoses. Make sure to inform us of any family history of eye problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, strabismus, amblyopia, or eye diseases.