Supporting Your Child’s Vision
While every one of the 5 senses teach children about the world, vision is responsible for most of the information we absorb. Vision can affect school performance, athletic abilities, and social engagement. Your child’s eyesight is a gift, and protecting their vision is crucial for lifelong learning.
Many children are unable to express themselves when they have eye problems. They might believe what they see is the same for everyone and that discomfort is normal.
Early childhood eye exams provide a baseline to study how your child’s eyes and vision change as they grow. Monitoring changes can ensure they receive the support and solutions they need to succeed.
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When Should Your Child Have an Exam?
Children experience many changes as they grow up, including changes to their eyes and sight. Optometrists monitor eye health and visual development milestones to ensure your child receives appropriate care. The types of assessments and milestones are determined by age group and individual needs. Your child’s optometrist may recommend more frequent exams when necessary. Generally, parents can follow the guideline outlined by the American Optometric Association (AOA). Talk to your optometrist if you want more information about your child’s unique visual development.
Toddlers (1–2 Years Old)
Preschoolers (3–5 Years Old)
School Age (6–17 Years Old)
Children can change a lot during their school years, and that includes their eyes! Children should have at least one eye exam before first grade and annual eye exams after—like a back-to-school routine.
Common Childhood Eye Problems
Amblyopia (lazy eye) occurs when there is vision loss or a lack of development in one eye. Symptoms such as a wandering eye or a tendency to bump into objects may be obvious, but minor symptoms can often go undetected without eye exams.
Children don’t outgrow amblyopia, and correcting the condition can be more challenging in older children or adults. Early treatment can prevent vision problems. Some methods include eye exercises, prescription lenses, prisms, or eye patching.
- Eye redness
- Eye discharge
- Excessive tearing
- Grittiness or itchiness
- Irritation or pain
- Light sensitivity
Infectious conjunctivitis is highly contagious and easily spread through close contact (shaking hands), coughing, sneezing, and touching the eye or surrounding area. Children who neglect eye hygiene or engage with large groups (schools or daycares) are more at risk.
Conjunctivitis treatment depends on the type. Removing the allergen or chemical source can decrease allergic or chemical pink eye symptoms, but eye drops can also help wash away irritants. Bacterial conjunctivitis (a type of infectious pink eye) may require antibiotics.
Conjunctivitis caused by a viral infection must run its course, much like the common cold. However, your optometrist may prescribe solutions to make your child more comfortable and prevent eye complications.
While mild myopia can make distance vision challenging, moderate myopia can increase your child’s risk of developing severe eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and myopic macular degeneration.
Myopia occurs when the cornea is too steeply curved, or the eyeball grows too long, preventing light from reaching the retina (tissue at the back of the eye). Standard prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct distance vision, but myopia control can help prevent symptoms from worsening.
Standard myopia control methods include:
Strabismus (crossed eyes) is an eye alignment condition where the eyes do not move together. One eye may turn outward, inward, downward, or upward. The problem can occur due to poor eye muscle control or a difference in one eye’s refractive error (myopia or hyperopia).
Children with strabismus can experience double vision and poor depth perception. Additionally, untreated strabismus can lead to permanently reduced vision in one eye. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek treatment early to preserve vision.
Your optometrist may recommend prescription lenses, vision therapy, or other treatment methods.
Children’s Eyecare You Can Trust
We want your child’s experience at Old Town Optix Optometry to be comfortable. So whether it’s time to update their back-to-school look with new glasses or if they need treatment for an eye problem, we can help.
Give your child the confidence they need to succeed. Visit Old Town Optix Optometry for your child’s next eye exam!
Come See What We’re About
Our practice is located in the Old Town La Quinta shopping mall complex. Find our door to the right of the Old Town Tavern. Plenty of parking is available on the south side of the building, facing Avenida La Fonda.