Eye Exams and Learning – A Winning Combo
When should you schedule your child’s first eye exam? We know 2020 was quite a different year for kids and school. For some children, spending multiple hours in virtual classrooms has taken a toll on their vision. Parents have turned to computer glasses that help reflect the UV lights from the blue screen. Children may be experiencing eye strain, headaches or you see them squinting. This could be a sign they need glasses.
Many preschools were on hold this past year, but there are signs of change as you may begin to notice registration advertisements for the 2021-2022 school year. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), “infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age.” Bissell Eye Care is a proud member of the InfantSEE® program and will do a free comprehensive examination on any child between six months and one year of age. Experts say 5 – 10 % of preschoolers and 25 % of school-aged children have vision problems.
As you prepare your child for their adventure into preschool, they will depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. Visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities will be developed to enable your child to learn to read and write.
Amblyopia or lazy eye is not just a crossed eye (because everyone thinks that), but it is an eye that does not see as well as the other eye causing it to not develop proper vision for many reasons. Amblyopia is reversible when detected early. Treatment involves patching the better-seeing eye or blurring its vision using atropine drops. Amblyopia is the most common cause of vision problems in children.
Early identification of a child’s vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade – at about age 5 or 6.”
The AOA estimates one in four school-aged kids have undetected vision problems that critically impact their visual perceptual skills:
- RECOGNITION – knowing the difference between letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’
- COMPREHENSION – ‘picturing’ what’s happening in a story they’re reading
- RETENTION – remembering and recalling details about what they’ve just read
Here are some tips for eye exams for young children.
- Schedule the appointment during a time when your child is alert and happy taking into account napping and eating times.
- A case history will be conducted to determine birth history, birth weight, medical issues, and any allergies.
- Be sure to note any delayed motor development, failure to maintain eye contact, poor eye tracking, frequent eye rubbing or blinking.
Making a child comfortable with puppets and the use of our “Special Lights” allow us to have fun with children as we look for the following things:
- How the eye tracks and turns
- High Refractive Error – meaning significant far or nearsightedness
- Overall Eye Health
For young children who can’t read letters yet, no worries, we use shapes and colors. No matter what age, regular eye exams are important. If you have concerns about your child’s vision, tracking ability or overall eye health, give our offices a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.