We see children as young as 6 months old!
It takes several years and many milestones for the function of the visual system to become fully operational and efficient. Parents play an important role in ensuring that their child's eyes and vision can develop properly.
Having your child’s vision monitored by a Pediatric Optometrist provides parents with the most comprehensive assessment of the child’s visual development beginning at infancy and throughout childhood. There are many activities, games, and toys that parents can use to help encourage efficient vision development in their children, and many parents do not fully realize how important even little activities can be for children.
A child’s vision is their most important skill. Everything a child will learn involves their eyes in some way. Think of learning to read, learning to play baseball, and even learning how to read body language and the cues used during socializing. A child needs their vision to be developing normally because any slight issue, no matter how small, has the potential to affect their performance in school or on the sports field.
In our office we understand that “vision” is more than just a pair of glasses or contact lenses. The two eyes are connected to the brain, which is then connected to the rest of the body. Vision involves many things, for example how the eyes work together as a team to look around and focus on different objects, how the eyes and the ears interact to have good balance and coordination, and even how the brain interprets the symbols and objects seen to recognize people, words, and objects.
A child can see with 20/20 eyesight and still have problems with their vision. We are able to diagnose and help those vision problems that go beyond issues with eyesight, even in children as young as 6 months of age.
Here are several of the most important things that we evaluate and why we do so:
Eye movements: children with ADHD are 3x more likely to have inaccurate and inefficient eye movements. This will affect their ability to pay visual attention, and their ability to read with ease
Near focusing skills: infants and toddlers who cannot properly focus both eyes up close are at the most risk for developing crossed eyes, and they are also at risk for delayed literacy
Depth perception: good depth perception is necessary for normal balance, coordination, and athletic abilities
Visual information processing: children with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and other behavioral issues often struggle with their visual information processing skills. These relate to how a child identifies and remembers that which they see
Our functional vision exam is where we are able to diagnose the vision problems that are affecting a child's development, such as eye-teaming disorders that affect their depth perception and are causing them to be clumsy and bump into things often, or their ability to read and learn effectively in school. This exam type can also be uniquely tailored for the Special Needs population and nonverbal children of any age or range of sensory delays.
Whether the child is experiencing vision-related symptoms or not, all children should have at least two exams before they are 3 years old. Their first evaluation should be between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and their second evaluation should be before 3 years old.
With increased screen time, this is a key time to flag a child for any delayed visual skills. The child does not need to recognize letters or numbers to successfully complete this exam. We are skilled at identifying vision problems even if the child is a pre-reader, or is not able to articulate that there is a problem.
Children entering a new school system need to have a comprehensive eye exam. Children should also have an exam yearly once in school. Our primary eyecare exams check a child's visual acuity, eye health, color vision, need for any glasses to see clearly at either far distances or for when reading, and we screen the basic functional visual skills.
A child's vision is their most important sensory system. Any issues need to be caught as soon as possible to avoid problems with development and academic performance. Timely intervention can make the difference between a happy child and a child that struggles.