Pediatric Eye Exams
As a parent, you may wonder whether your preschooler has a vision problem or when you should schedule your child’s first eye exam.
Eye exams for children are extremely important because 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. This can be done as a Free InfantSEE exam at our participating optometrist office. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia, is a loss or lack of development of vision, usually in one eye. This degenerative process usually begins with an inherited condition and appears during infancy or early childhood. Lazy eye needs to be diagnosed between birth and early school age since it is during this period that the brain “chooses” its visual pathway and may ignore the weaker eye permanently. Amblyopia is often associated with strabismus, but not always.
Lazy eye is not always easy to recognize since a child with worse vision in one eye does not necessarily have lazy eye. Because of this, it is recommended that all children, including those with no symptoms, have a comprehensive eye examination by the age of three and sooner if there is a family history of any eye condition or disease. If you suspect a problem, or need to set up your child’s first eye examination, contact Valley Vision Eyecare to set up an appointment.
Cross-eyed, medically known as strabismus, refers to a condition in which eyes are misaligned. It commonly occurs when the muscles that control eye movement are not properly working together. The result is one or both eyes turning inward, outward, upward or downward, or one or both eyes moving irregularly. Strabismus is one of the primary causes of amblyopia.
Strabismus is usually diagnosed during childhood and affects about 4 percent of children, afflicting boys and girls equally. Though it cannot be prevented, its complications can be avoided with early intervention. Even if you notice symptoms intermittently – when your child is ill, stressed or fatigued – alert your eye care provider.
Valley Vision Eyecare has the experience and equipment necessary to diagnose and often treat the eye conditions detailed above at our office in Lebanon. For more information please schedule an appointment with your eye care provider, and we will be in touch with you shortly.
Treatment of Amblyopia and/or Strabismus
Early treatment of amblyopia or lazy eye is usually simple, employing eyeglasses, eyedrops, Vision Therapy, and/or eye patching.