Now that we have all settled in our back to school routine, I wanted to talk about children’s vision exams. The recommended schedule to check a child’s vision is 6 month-12 months then 3-5 years of age, and start annual exams at 6 years of age. While pediatrician will screen for visual problems at all the child’s well visits, a lot of problems go under diagnosed. If you notice any problems like your child squinting or an eye that wanders, that would indicate the child needs to be examined. If your instinct tells you something might be wrong with your child’s vision don’t hesitate to bring your child in. A child’s vision exam is very different from an adult’s exam so don’t worry about them knowing the letters.
Also, it is a good idea to have your child’s eyes checked if poor vision runs in the family. If one parent wears glasses there is a 1.5x chance your child will need glasses. If both parents wear glasses there is a 3x chance your child will need glasses. Diagnosing vision problems in early childhood can make a significant improvement in learning. Early detection can also help prevent further loss of vision.
There is an increased need of people requiring glasses in the world. Usually the cause is myopia. Myopia is where vision is blurred at a distance. Myopia is being recognized as a worldwide epidemic with significant health consequences. The amount of people needing glasses in 30 years will likely double. Poor vision is a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Research shows that the amount of time a child spends outdoors is directly related to the chance of developing myopia. The more outdoor playtime, the less chance that the child will develop myopia. 2 hours per day or 10 hours a week can help prevent glasses in children that haven’t developed myopia. This new research provides some hope for myopia prevention. There are also other treatment for myopia if your child should need glasses. I would be happy to address any concerns you should have regarding your child’s vision.