Pediatric Eye Exams:

Key to a Brighter, Healthier, and More Successful Future for Your Child

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Children's Vision Services

Comprehensive Pediatric Eye Exams

The American Optometric Association recommends children have their first pediatric eye exam by the age of 6 months, and then at ages 3 and 5, and every year thereafter if they have a prescription. Children's eyes develop rapidly during the early years, and early detection of any vision problems is crucial for their overall development.

Routine eye examinations are not only about ensuring a child can see clearly but also about ensuring their eyes are healthy. Regular pediatric eye exams can help detect a range of potential vision problems that can hinder your child's development and academic performance.

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Vision in the Classroom

Vision plays a crucial role in your child's learning. Up to 80% of learning in school is visual - reading from the board, copying notes, or reading a book all require excellent visual skills. It is estimated that 1 in every 5 students has an unidentified vision problem that is impacting their success in the classroom. 

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Choosing Frames, Lenses, and Contact Lenses for Kids

Choosing the right glasses for a child is about more than just aesthetics—it's also about comfort, great vision, and durability. Pediatric eye care professionals can help select frames and lenses that fit well, look good, and withstand the activities of childhood.

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Special Evaluations for Strabismus (eye turn) and Amblyopia (lazy eye)

It is estimated that about 2-4% of the U.S. population has strabismus (eye turn), and around 2-3% has amblyopia (lazy eye). These conditions can manifest in several ways. In one case, the brain is not able to control the alignment of one eye or both eyes, causing the child to see double images, which is confusing. In another case, the eye may not see as well, and over time, the brain will ignore visual information coming from that eye. There are extremely effective treatments for both strabismus and amblyopia.

Early detection is crucial, which is why it is recommended that parents bring children in for a vision exam at 6 months of age and before they start first grade. Pediatric eye exams or developmental eye exams can ensure both eyes are working well together. If there are signs of amblyopia, strabismus, or any developmental vision problems, prompt treatment is recommended. This proactive approach prevents potential eye issues, ensuring the best vision for today and the future.

Myopia Management

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a growing concern among pediatric optometrists and pediatric ophthalmologists. This is primarily due to the significant increase in myopia among children and the knowledge that each diopter increase in a child’s prescription raises the risk of severe eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment by 20%-67%. Various methods are used to slow down the progression of myopia, including:

- Special custom contacts to reshape the front surface of the eye (called Ortho-Keratology or OrthoK).
- Ultra low dose atropine eye drops, which have been shown in many studies to reduce myopia progression effectively even at younger ages.
- Specialized soft contact lenses that are FDA approved for reducing myopia progression in children and teens.

Myopia can significantly impact a child's performance in the classroom or while engaging in sports. A myopia simulator can help visualize how a myopic child may see the world around them and better understand the impact on their success.

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Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment program designed to improve and correct specific vision problems. These issues may include eye coordination, eye tracking and focusing skills, and visual processing speed. Unlike glasses or contact lenses which address one aspect of a person's vision, vision therapy looks at the entire visual system, including the eyes, their ability to work together, and visual information processing.

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Eye Care For Children With Special Needs

Children with special needs like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Down Syndrome often have unique vision needs. In fact, a 2018 study published in the Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that up to 40% of children with neurodevelopmental disorders like autism have strabismus (eye turn), compared to 4% of the general population. Amblyopia (lazy eye), a common vision development disorder, is estimated to affect 2-3% of all children, but the prevalence can rise to 20% or higher in populations with developmental disorders.

ASD kids might find eye contact challenging, have focus issues, or are sensitive to light. For them, frequent eye exams are vital to track their vision development and detect and treat any eye conditions early.

Children with down syndrome might face vision issues such as blurry vision, misaligned eyes, or even cataracts. An early and thorough eye exam can help identify these issues and prompt treatments.

In all situations, regular pediatric eye care in a nurturing environment can significantly benefit these children.  By following proactive eye care measures and regular check-ups, eyecare specialists aim to support optimal vision health for all children.

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Eye Emergencies and Your Child

According to the World Health Organization, 90% of eye injuries are preventable, with a significant percentage occurring in children. Children's eye emergencies can sometimes be challenging to handle due to their inability to communicate effectively. Experienced optometrists are available to provide the utmost care for children's eye health. It is important to seek professional help if a child is experiencing any eye emergencies.

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