As we all realize, children's vision is very important. Clear vision and healthy eyes are important not only to a child’s overall health and well-being, but are also directly related to academic performance in school and the ability to compete in sports.
A child who is unable to see print or view a blackboard can become easily frustrated, leading to poor academic performance and awkward social skills. It is best to detect and correct vision problems as early as possible while the child’s vision system is still developing. Remember that it is likely that a child will be unaware that they are experiencing less than crisp vision, which is why eye examinations for children are so vital.
According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye health examination at 6 months of age. Subsequently, additional exams should be at age 3, and then just before a child enters first grade. For school-aged children, Dr. Labaza recommends a yearly examination to make sure the eyes are healthy and to correct any vision problems that may have developed.
As they grow, all children need these basic skills related to good eyesight:
- Near Vision
- Distance Vision
- Coordination of both eyes
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Color vision
- Hand-eye coordination
In our office, Dr. Labaza will test for all of these important vision skills, and will thoroughly evaluate the health of the child’s eyes to rule out any serious medical conditions or diseases. It may surprise you to learn that a vision screening by a school nurse or pediatrician is not the same as our comprehensive eye health examination. Vision screenings are a limited process and can't be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. Screenings may miss as many as 70% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one. Passing a vision screening can give parents a false sense of security. Many preschool vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Generally color vision, which is important to the use of color coded learning materials, is not tested. Often, only distance vision is checked, but not close-up vision where much of a child’s school age learning takes place.
During your child’s examination, Dr. Labaza takes the time to talk to you about your child’s visual development, explain any vision problems and give treatment options. If your child needs eyeglasses, we have lots of frames that look great and fit well so kids actually love to wear their glasses! What about contact lenses for your child? They are definitely OK for most kids, and are safer and more convenient than ever, making them a great option for both younger children and teenagers. Personal appearance and self-esteem are important factors in a child’s development and many kids are happy with the idea of not wearing glasses. Also, contact lenses are a great option for kids in sports and other activities. Dr. Labaza offers a free contact lens consultation which will help determine if your child is ready for them!
If you have further questions or want to schedule an appointment for your child’s eye health examination, just call us at 810-667-9120.
Excellence in eye care at an affordable price