What To Look For In Your Kids Vision
Your child’s vision plays a vital role in their physical development, success in school and overall wellbeing.
About 1 in 4 pre-school aged children have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem in the United States. Vision problems begin at a young age, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams for your children to continue keeping their eyes healthy.
There are a lot of ways to protect your child’s vision, so keep reading to learn about what milestones to look out for in their vision.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN BABIES
Month 3 - Your Baby’s Eyes Should Focus And Follow Objects
During the first months of life, an infant’s eyes may cross or wander off to the sides. Don’t worry, this is normal. As their visual coordination improves, the baby’s eyes will work together to focus and follow moving objects.
Month 5 – Your Baby can see in Three Dimension
At this age, babies are better at grabbing objects because they can see how far it is from them. They begin to develop depth perception and may even be able to recognize what certain objects are by only seeing part of it.
Month 9 – Final Color of your Baby’s Eyes
The eye color of your baby depends on the amount and distribution of a brown pigment called melanin in the iris. Although, it’s common that you can continue to see slight changes in their eye color during the first 3 months.
Our Eye Care providers recommend bringing in your baby during their first year. “An appointment for your infant would include an assessment of their eye alignment, their ocular health, and a consultation with you, the parent about any other concerns or questions you may have,” says Dr. Jason Bleazard.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN TODDLERS
Watch for misalignment, or one eye that looks straight ahead while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. This may be a sign of strabismus, an eye problem that occurs in about 4% of children in the U.S. The ability of both eyes to focus on an object simultaneously continues to develop until about age 7. Be sure to seek evaluation early if you suspect a problem. This can also be caught during a preschool vision screening at the pediatrician's office.
“There’s not much that you can do to test for strabismus at home, but you can look at past photos to see if there is misalignment or if it is worsening,” says Dr. Bianca Mendoza.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN CHILDREN AGES 6 - 12
Many school-age children are farsighted. In most cases, they do not need glasses. Children generally can accommodate by using their focusing muscles to see clearly near and far. As they get older, children’s eyes grow and lengthen, and farsightedness often improves on its own. Significant farsightedness, however, can lead to strabismus and amblyopia (lazy eye) if left uncorrected.
Colorblindness is common in boys and the symptoms can be hard to detect. “You won’t be able to detect color blindness from home, this needs to be tested in one of our clinics. But kids with color vision deficiencies will often mislabel colors even though they should know them based on their age,” says Dr. Jonathan Walker.
One symptom is the inability to tell the difference between shades of the same or similar colors.
TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS
More than 90 percent of children’s eye injuries can be prevented with protective goggles. Sports eye protectors are made with polycarbonate lenses for baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, paintball and other activities with a risk of eye injury. You can purchase these at any of our CBHA Eye Care Clinics.
Three Not-So-Obvious Signs Of Childhood Vision Problems Are:
- A quick loss of interest in activities that require using your eyes
- Losing their place when reading
- Turning their head to look at something in front of them
Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses
Here are a few signs that indicate your child may be experiencing vision problems and need glasses:
- Squinting. Squinting may be a sign that your child has a refractive error, which affects how well the eyes focus on an image.
- Tilting head or covering one eye. Your child might cover one eye or tilt their head to adjust the angle of vision in an attempt to increase clarity. This might be an indication that the eyes are misaligned or that your child has a lazy eye, which is one of the most common eye disorders in children.
- Sitting too close to the television or holding hand-held devices too close to the eyes. Sitting too close to the television, holding hand-held devices too close to the eyes or lowering the head while reading are all possible signs of poor vision. People who have nearsightedness have clear vision at close range and poorer vision at a distance. Bringing an object closer makes an image bigger and clearer.
- Rubbing eyes excessively. Excessive eye rubbing may indicate that your child is experiencing eye fatigue or strain. This could be a sign of many types of vision problems and conditions, including allergic conjunctivitis.
- Complaining of headaches or eye pain. If your child complains about eye pain or headaches at the end of the day, he or she may be overexerting the eyes in an effort to increase focus of blurred vision.
“If your child complains that they are having trouble in school because they can’t see the white board, or other objects that are at a reasonable distance, then it may be a sign to bring them in to be tested for glasses,” says Dr. Robert Forbes.
If you have noticed any of these signs in your child’s vision, bring them in for an appointment with one of our optometrist at any of our Eye Care Clinics. Schedule your appointment below.