Healthy Eyes – Care Tips For Your Child

Healthy eyes and vision are a crucial for every kid’s development. Hence, regular eye exams are highly advised by experts. Caring for the eye health should begin when your child is still a newborn and should continue all throughout childhood. Regular eye checkups are very important as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early. Usually, an eye exam is recommend prior to beginning school.

Eye Exams for Healthy Eyes

Routine medical checkups for eye health includes:

  • General eye health checkup for newborns conducted by a pediatrician
  • Examination of high-risk newborns, babies with a family history of eye problems, and those with prominent irregularities of the eye
  • Routine screening for eye health during medical checkups in the first year of life
  • Visual acuity tests, in order to measure sharpness of vision at about 3 years of age
  • Examination of vision and eye alignment at the age of 5
  • Annual checkups for children who wear prescription glasses in order to screen for vision changes

Specialists involved in providing Eye Care

There are three types of eye specialists that provide eye and vision care.

Ophthalmologist: This doctor conducts complete eye exams, diagnoses and treats eye diseases, performs eye surgery and also prescribes corrective lenses

Optometrist: An optometrist performs eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, diagnose common eye disorders, and treat simple eye diseases

Optician: An optician assembles, fits, sells, and fills prescriptions for spectacles

Symptoms of Vision Problems

Some possible symptoms of vision problems in children can include:

  • Constantly rubbing the eye
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Poor focusing
  • Poor visual tracking (inability to follow objects)
  • Abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes
  • Chronic redness of the eyes
  • Profuse tearing of the eyes
  • A white pupil

In school-going children, some signs that may indicate the presence of vision problems can include:

  • Poor performance at school
  • Having trouble in seeing things written on the blackboard
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Headaches or pain in the eye
  • Difficulty in paying attention
  • Difficulty in reading and writing
  • Hesitation in going to school
  • Taking a very long time to complete homework

Common Eye Problems

Kids can be affected by several eye conditions. Most of these problems can be detected by a vision screening using an acuity chart. Some of the eye problems include:

  • Amblyopia: Also known as a lazy eye, this condition causes poor vision in the that appears to be normal
  • Strabismus: This condition is a misalignment of the eyes, which causes eyes to wander. Common called as cross-eye, due to this condition, both the eyes fail to aim at the same object
  • Refractive errors: These errors occur when the eye does not have the correct shape, causing the vision to be blurry. The most common of refractive errors are: Myopia or nearsightedness, which results in poor distance vision. Hyperopia or farsightedness, is poor near-vision
  • Astigmatism: An abnormal curve of the front surface of the eye

What if your child needs glasses?

Early detection of eye problems can be corrected with the use of eye glasses. Here are some suggestions you should keep in mind while getting prescribed eyeglasses for your children:

  • If your child is young, make sure that they have plastic frames, which are a safer option
  • The lenses used in the glasses should be made of impact-resistant plastic
  • You can ask your child to help in choosing frames and lenses they like