Everyone should get the health and condition of their eyes checked regularly; no matter how old they are. This means that if you are a parent or guardian of a child, you will be responsible for ensuring that their eyes are healthy and that they can see clearly. The best way to achieve this is by taking them for regular eye exams.
Many people don’t realize that their child’s vision isn’t perfect when they are born. In fact, both their visual acuity and their visual skills continue to develop during the first few years of their life. These will include, but are not limited to:
Unfortunately, some children will go on to experience issues in their development of these skills, and this could impact their day-to-day lives, such as their ability to engage and learn at school. The earlier any issues are detected, the more quickly your eye doctor can recommend and support your child in starting treatment to resolve them.
Many children also develop refractive eye problems. These occur when the light that enters the eye isn’t directly focused onto the retina, usually because the cornea – which is the clear, domed lens covering the front part of the eye – doesn’t refract the light correctly. As a result, their vision is blurred. These refractive eye problems are known as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. They can be corrected using prescription lenses in either glasses or contact lenses.
Unfortunately, children who don’t attend regular eye exams are more likely to spend months or even years living with a refractive eye error that affects their vision – and this can impact on their ability to access their learning and fulfil their potential at school. Children who develop high myopia early in life have also been found to be at greater risk of developing more serious eye health issues in the future, including cataracts and retinal detachment.
Accurate vision and strong visual skills are also essential for keeping your child safe day to day. There are many ways in which we, and children, rely on their eyesight to be able to function safely each day. Most of the time, this is something that we do automatically, without really realizing how much we rely on clear and concise vision to make important decisions. For example, your child needs to be able to tell the difference between colors (for things such as traffic lights or other systems that are color-coded), anticipate the speed of moving traffic, read signs and more. Developing effective visual skills and having clear, accurate eyesight is needed to be able to make crucial choices that will affect how safe your child will be.
Experts recommend that children have their first proper eye exam just before they start kindergarten, and then at least once every two years following this. If your child is found to need glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision, the frequency of these visits may be increased in line with their prescription requirements. Always follow the guidance of your eye doctor.
If you have concerns about your child’s eye health or vision, call Pinnacle Eye Group of Lambertville at (734) 854-3937 to reach our office in Lambertville, Michigan.