Happy back-to-school season! As your little ones head off to class with new books and school supplies in tow, don’t forget to consider their health needs this fall. Healthy eyes and clear vision help your child stay successful, so take care of their sight to give them the best school year yet! Read on to learn why staying on top of eye health is especially important for children.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that children have eye exams as infants, when they are around the age of 3, and before entering kindergarten. For school-age children with normal, uncorrected vision, regular checkups by a pediatrician that include a vision screening component may be sufficient, but there is no harm in having an annual eye exam. Annual exams may especially be beneficial depending on family history.
Children who already have glasses should have an eye exam at least once a year to monitor vision changes. Some children may need a new prescription every year or even every 8-10 months. Your doctor will set up an appointment schedule to best serve your child depending on their unique needs.
Trouble reading the board at the front of the classroom is a clear indication that your child isn’t seeing well, but other signs may be less obviously related to his or her vision. If your child squints when reading or using the computer, he or she may have an issue with near vision. Kids can’t always properly communicate their discomfort, but if they complain of discomfort that sounds like headaches or eye fatigue, it could be because their eyes and brain are overworking to see better. These rules apply to adults, too! If you or your child are noticing blurry vision, headaches, eye fatigue, or increased squinting, schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.
Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is abnormally poor vision development in one eye. With amblyopia, one eye does the majority of the work while the other suffers decreased vision—often due to an uncorrected refractive error. If not corrected in early childhood, vision loss in the lazy eye may be permanent and the weakened muscles may cause the eye to wander inward or outward. Strabismus, or crossed eyes, occurs when eyes do not point in the same direction. The “crossed” eye may point inward, outward, up, or down while the other points forward. The brain may ignore sight from the crossed eye to avoid seeing double, eventually nullifying that eye’s vision completely. With early treatment, strabismus can be corrected successfully for lifelong, healthy vision.
Every child’s eyes are unique, so watch out for their vision (and your own!) with regular eye exams—and schedule additional exams if any concerns come up. Call the team at Better Vision New Jersey today to set up an appointment!