7 Things You Need to Know About Your Children’s Eye Health
Humans are fortunate to have five senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight. We absorb the majority of sensory information from the world around us through the eyes. Consequently, the health of our eyes is critical to our overall health and well-being.
The sense of sight is critically important for children as they develop, says Dr. Marcus Kelley at Montana Eye Care in Helena. Identifying and addressing any vision problems today can have a huge impact on quality of life. Dr. Kelley offers these seven important considerations when it comes to your children’s eyes.
- Eye Health Care Begins at Birth
A pediatrician will monitor a newborn’s eyes immediately after birth and continue to monitor infants at well-child visits. Every child should have a formal eye exam before age 1, at three years and just before kindergarten. Children with family history of eye turns, a lazy eye or other vision problems, should be seen for an eye exam more frequently.
- Know the Signs of Poor Vision
Poor school performance, squinting, a short attention span, difficulty reading and writing, balance issues and headaches may be signs of poor vision or eye muscle coordination. Keep in mind, children might not have the vocabulary to describe difficulty seeing. Furthermore, they may not have an understanding or reference for clear vision if their vision has always been blurry. Be tuned-in to the behavior and development of the children in your life.
- Minor Vision Problems Are Common
There is no reason to panic if your child has a correctable vision problem, such as a lazy eye, crossed eyes, an astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness. Glasses are an accessible, easy and safe way to improve visual acuity, vision potential and eye alignment.
- Lazy and Crossed Eyes Should Not Be Ignored
Vision potential should be equal between the right and left eyes. A lazy, or amblyopic, eye will not see as well as a normal eye – even with glasses. The vision center of the brain continues to develop until age 9. Lazy eyes can be improved with a variety of non-invasive interventions. First and foremost, prescription glasses are needed so the lazy eye has the best possible image presented to the vision center of the brain. Glasses alone may be enough to develop the vision in the lazy eye. Sometimes, an eye patch over the better eye will be recommended for a few hours each day. A patch forces the child to look through the lazy eye, which helps the vision center of brain develop. Early diagnosis and intervention are important for vision development in children with amblyopia.
A crossed eye, or strabismus, is a misalignment of the eyes. The deviation or crossing can present up, down, inward (toward the nose) or outward (toward the ear). The deviation may be mild to severe. Glasses will align many eye deviations. In some cases, eye surgery may be recommended to realign the muscles and minimize the misalignment of the eye.
- Be Informed About Choosing the Best Glasses for Your Child
For children, impact resistant plastics are recommended for lenses. This will offer the protection while improving vision. Ask for durable frames. When searching for a child’s frame, pay special attention to the fit of the frame. Avoid selecting a frame based only on color or brand name. Once the selection has been narrowed to two or three properly fitting frames, then ask the child to select their favorite.
- Be Smart About Contact Lenses
Children often are motivated to try contact lenses before parents have considered this subject. Parents should assess the maturity level of their child before agreeing to them. Proper daily hygiene and lens care are critical to the proper functioning of the lens and the health of your child’s eye. Poor care of contact lenses can lead to serious damage to your child’s eyes.
- Contact Lenses Are Great for Kids in Sports
If your child plays sports in school, wearing glasses can be a nuisance that can be solved with contacts. Not only do you avoid the issue of breakage, contact lenses offer better peripheral vision, less fogging and better compatibility with safety equipment like ski goggles, catchers’ masks and football helmets.
For children, identifying and addressing vision problems today can have a positive impact on their quality of life. We only have two eyes, so take care of them. Help your children and grandchildren by reaching out for an early eye exam. Contact Montana Eyecare today at (406) 443-2121 to make an appointment for your children. Visit MontanaEyeCare.com for more information.
550 North Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
Montana Eye Care
At Montana Eyecare, our professional eye care staff will be happy to assist you with your vision needs. We have treatment options available for everyone. Whether you are interested in making an appointment for a LASIK consultation, have cataracts, need an annual eye exam, or just need glasses, we can help!
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