Does Your Child Need An Eye Exam?

Young children should get a baseline vision test before they start school to ensure that their eyes are working properly.

Some children are born with vision problems while other kids develop complications over a period of time. If poor eyesight runs in your family or if you notice your child exhibiting symptoms of eyestrain, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a vision examination before your child starts school.

Congenital eye disorders include crossed eyes, in which one or both look toward each other rather than straight forward. A similar problem is "lazy eye," in which an eye occasionally turns inward or outward. Both of these can be corrected in some cases with vision training or surgery, so talk with the eye doctor about your child's case in particular.

Just as many parents make sure that their son or daughter have the required medical immunizations before starting school, it's a good idea to get your child's vision checked at the same time. If eyeglasses are needed, it will be easier for your child to get used to them before starting school.

If your child begins to show symptoms that suggest possible vision abnormalities, here are some things to check for:

1. Does he squint while reading a book or watching television? Squinting may involve one or both eyes. It may be more apparent in dim or very bright light, though it can occur at any time and for any reason, such as peering at the blackboard in school.

2. Does she sit closer to the television or lean toward the computer screen? Sometimes kids do this from excitement rather than impaired vision, but if this behavior is something new, keep an eye on it and mention it at the eye exam.

3. Does your child complain about reading? It may be he will say he doesn't like to read, or she doesn't understand it, or it's too hard. Sit down with the child and ask for a sentence or two of reading and watch how the child performs. Does she point to each word with a finger as she reads it? Does he squint or lean in toward the page?

4. Does the boy or girl stumble over objects on the floor that weren't seen? Does he miss catching a ball that should have been easy? Does she have problems writing homework problems? Do notes posted on the refrigerator go unread?

5. Does your child complain of headaches or eye fatigue? While it is true that these symptoms are generic and may mean nothing or point to another kind of problem, they also may herald an eye problem, so take note if you hear of them to determine frequency and intensity.

Keep track of these symptoms to report to your eye doctor when the child has his or her vision exam. If glasses are prescribed, let your son or daughter help to choose a color or design of frame so the glasses will be worn, not discarded.

Vision is a precious gift that children need everyday. Help your child take good care of it by responding to symptoms and getting an eye exam at a young age, with follow-up exams each year or two thereafter or as indicated by your eye doctor.

Trending Now

© High Speed Ventures 2011