A pediatric eye exam is a crucial aspect of your child’s health and wellness. It is a comprehensive assessment of the health of your child’s eyes as well as his vision, and here at Omaha Primary Eye Care, they are performed by our skilled and friendly optometrists who have extensive experience in the eye health of children. It is important to note that a brief examination of your child’s eyes by a pediatrician or your family doctor is not
a substitute for a pediatric eye exam performed by a trained optometrist.
Why Are Pediatric Eye Exams So Important?
In order for your child to learn about the world around him, he ideally needs to have a clear vision. This starts from birth, although his eyesight will still be developing in the first few months after his arrival into the world. He will soon make out shapes, colors, and faces that make it easier for him to identify different people. As he grows, he will develop visual skills that enable him to learn and develop at the appropriate rate. These include:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Eye-teaming skills
- Eye movement skills
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Hand/eye coordination
Experts suggest that as much as 80% of what your child will learn in school is presented visually. If there are problems with either his eye health or his vision, this could interfere with school performance and potentially affect his safety. Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems can also face barriers that are social and athletic as well as academic. In some instances, left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent loss of vision.
Common Eye and Vision Problems That Affect Children
There are some types of eye and vision problems in children that are more common than others. When our optometry team performs a pediatric eye exam, we will be assessing many things, including checking your child’s eyes for the following eye and vision issues:
This is better known as lazy eye and refers to decreased vision in one or both eyes with no obvious damage to them. Treatment usually involves wearing a patch over the dominant eye so that the muscles for the weaker one work harder and become stronger.
This is where the eyes are misaligned and can look like they are pointing in different directions. Normally caused by a congenital defect, if it isn’t treated, strabismus can lead to amblyopia in the misaligned eye. There are a number of treatments to try, but in some cases, surgery may be the best solution.
This refers to the inability to keep the eye comfortably aligned for reading and other close-up work. Eye exercises recommended by our optometrists can help to treat this issue.
Also sometimes referred to as accommodation problems, kids who experience this issue can struggle to change focus easily, for example from a near vision for reading to a far vision for playing at recess. They can also struggle to maintain focus for activities like reading. Again, eye exercises can be hugely effective.
Is My Child At Risk Of Developing a Vision Disorder?
Vision disorders can affect any child at any point during their childhood. However, certain demographics of children are considered to be at greater risk of suffering from vision disorders. These include those kids who have:
- Neurodevelopmental or genetic disorders, for example, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD or autism spectrum disorders.
- Previously been diagnosed with a visual condition.
- Systemic disease or are currently or have taken medications known to cause vision disorders.
- A family history of vision disorders, such as strabismus or amblyopia.
- Learning difficulties.
- History of premature birth or low birth weight.
Regular pediatric eye exams can help to ensure that your child has the right tools to learn effectively and successfully as he grows. Our dedicated and experienced team will be able to advise you of the frequency with which these appointments should be carried out and answer any questions that you have.
If you would like more information on pediatric eye exams, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our offices at Omaha Eye Care in Omaha, NE today by calling (402) 383-0780.