Pediatric Eye Exams
Compassionate Care, Personalized Experience
Children Eye Exams
Eye exams are recommended for children starting at the age of 6 months. During the early years of your child’s vision development, they are learning to focus on objects near and far, to coordinate both eyes to work together (e.g., depth perception), and to coordinate the eyes to work with other parts of the body (e.g., eye-hand coordination).
Children’s routine eye exams will allow you to ensure your child’s vision development milestones are progressing well. Regular eye exams in children are very important because many eye conditions have a better prognosis if diagnosed and treated early in a child’s life during critical development stages. Poor eyesight and focusing abilities can hinder a child’s progress at school because 80% of learning is done through vision.
It is important for parents to know that often times, there are no signs that their child has vision problems. Research data show that one in five children will have an ocular problem that their parents will be unaware of. For example, if a child has one eye that sees well and a fellow eye that is weak, they become dependent on the better eye and their weaker eye unknowingly becomes worse over time. If this is left untreated, the weaker eye could end up with permanent vision loss.
Your optometrist can use different techniques to assess vision, even if the patient can’t speak or recognize letters. Some tools include videos to keep their focus while we use lights and lenses to measure their prescription, to 3D books to check how well their eyes work as a team. A child’s eye exam includes tests that assess depth perception, colour vision, focusing abilities, eye muscle balance, and eye health.
Myopia, or better known as nearsighted, is when you need glasses or contact lenses to see clearly at a distance. There has become an increased prevalence of nearsightedness, affecting 42% of Americans in the United States.
Onset of myopia typically occurs around 8 years of age and may progress throughout adolescence and young adulthood. During puberty is when we will see the changed begin.
Why Should We Be Concerned About Myopia?
Moderate to high levels of myopia increase the chance of eye disease such as retinal detachment, retinal tears, retinal holes and early cataracts and glaucoma. At our office, we have shifted from prescribing new glasses every year as myopia progresses to taking a more serious approach to slowing down the underlying causes of myopia.
Vision Therapy and Developmental Optometry
Vision therapy is designed by Developmental Optometrists, and is a doctor-supervised progressive program to improve visual skills. It is individualized one-on-one hour long sessions. Similar to speech therapy, or physical therapy, vision therapy helps with any deficiencies that may cause problems in school, or life.
Glasses or contact lenses are usually part of the initial plan. Vision therapy may be recommended and requires a committed plan of individually designed clinical visits with the optometrist and followed with home-vision therapy.