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cute babyEye care and your child

Vision problems are extremely common in children, yet only 14 percent of children under the age of 6 have had an eye and vision examination. It is possible for your child to have a serious vision problem without you being aware of it, so the eye care professionals at Southwest Florida Eye Care recommend infants should be screened for common eye problems during their regular pediatric appointments and vision testing should be conducted for all children starting at around three years of age. If there is a family history of eye problems or if a problem is apparent, speak to your eye physician promptly about when and how often your child’s eyes should be examined.

What eye problems should be checked in children?

Among the conditions an eye care professional will look for in children are amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid), color deficiency (color blindness) and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism).

Eye Safety

Protect your child’s eyes from the danger of eye injuries by being sure that the toys your child plays with are appropriate for his or her age and maturity level. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts and make sure your wears appropriate protective eyewear when playing sports.

The connection between school and vision

The American Public Health Association estimates 25% of students in grades K-6 will begin the school year with vision problems serious enough to impede learning.  Undetected vision problems can lead to trouble reading, finishing schoolwork, fatigue, and ultimately, frustration in the classroom; all issues that can potentially lead to a misdiagnosis of learning disabilities, according to the American Optometric Association.
Some children may not even be aware they have vision problems, so parents and teachers should watch for specific signs and behaviors that may indicate a vision problem.  These include:

  • Frequent squinting
  • An eye that seems to drift
  • Sitting close to the television
  • An unusually short attention span for his or her age
  • Exhibiting poor eye-hand-body coordination
  • Difficulty with coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
  • Poor grades
  • Delayed learning

To protect healthy eyes and insure a child’s visual system is developing correctly, the American Optometric Association recommends comprehensive eye exams begin with an initial examination during the first 12 months of life, followed by a pre-school exam at age three, and comprehensive exams every two years after throughout the school years.  Children with vision problems or a family history of vision problems may need examinations more frequently. 


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