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A Parent's Guide on Eye Health For Children

Ensure you schedule your appointment at a time your child is most active and fresh. It is also vital to speak to them about the importance of eye care services.

As a parent, it is essential to know early if your child has any eye problems. A trip to the optometrist or ophthalmologist can help identify the issues and start the necessary corrective measures. You need to organize for a comprehensive eye exam to ensure that your child's eyes are in good health.

Importance Of Pediatric Eye Care Services

Children use their eyes to see and discover the world around them. Research shows that 80% of the lessons students under 13 learn in school are taught visually. With 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-going kids having visual problems, it's vital to schedule regular eye exams for your children.

Proper eyesight is important for your child to develop excellent visual acuity, proper eye teaming skills, and accurate eye movement and focusing. The basic screenings done through the Prevent Blindness program will only catch major eye problems. It should not be a substitute for a thorough exam by eye care specialists.

Common visual Issues in Children and Risk Factors

You may note several warning signs as your child develops. It could be something your child mentions, for example, "my eyes are itchy," or perhaps "everything is blurry." However, you may also notice some of these signs:

  • Eyes not lining up
  • Red-rimmed, watery or swollen eyes
  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • Tilting or thrusting head forward while reading
  • Excessive blinking and squinting

Only a qualified eye doctor can take a comprehensive eye test to determine if you require immediate eye treatment. However, some children may be at a higher risk of developing issues. Some of the risk factors include...

  • Premature birth
  • Family history of conditions such as childhood cataracts, amblyopia (lazy eye), or strabismus (eye misalignment)
  • A childhood eye injury

For such kids, do not wait for the regular school screening and schedule a direct appointment with the eye doctor.

When to Schedule Your Child's Eye Exam

Nearly 4.2 million Americans age 40 and older are visually impaired. Some of the issues could have been prevented if doctors identified them early enough. The American Optometric Association recommends your child's first screening at six months of age. Your child is at a critical developmental stage that makes it easy to point out issues with their sight.

You may need another screening in year three and another right before your kid joins preschool. All children, whether they have an obvious issue or not, should take an eye exam every two years. If there are any issues, the optometrists or ophthalmologists can recommend the necessary treatment, which can be eyeglasses, medication, patching, or surgery.

Tips to Help You While at the Eye Care Specialists

First, choose the correct timing. Ensure you schedule your appointment at a time your child is most active and fresh. It is also vital to speak to them about the importance of eye care services. Address their fears and tame their anxiety. Whenever possible, let their favorite cuddly toy tag along. The "bear" will keep their hands busy to avoid playing with expensive equipment. Remember, kids can read cues from adults. If you are too worried, the anxiety may rub off on your child.

Pediatric eye care services are vital for the overall health and learning curve of your child. During the eye exam, the optometrist will look into any issues your child may have with their eyes. Is your kid due (or overdue) for an eye checkup? Call Paradise Valley Eye Care to schedule your optometrist appointment.