IS IT TOO EARLY FOR YOUR CHILD’S FIRST EYE EXAM?
You may notice many preschools are starting to advertise registration for the 2019-2020 school year. Something to consider before your child enters preschool is an eye exam. Did you know that Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for children as young as 6 months of age? For children under the age of one, we do not charge for the examination.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), “infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Experts say 5 -10 % of preschoolers and 25 % of school-aged children have vision problems.
Preschoolers depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. During this time in their lives, they are developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities necessary to learn to read and write.
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 of shapes and colors. No matter what age, regular eye exams are important. Prepare your child for success as they enter preschool and beyond. To learn more, give our offices a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.