Encouraging healthy habits in children and teens is a crucial part of parenting. Parents and guardians discuss good health and ways to achieve healthy lifestyles. But eye health is often left out of the conversation.
There’s more to keeping eyes healthy than eating a steady diet of crunchy carrots. Routine eye check-ups are important for everyone, especially for developing eyes. It’s easy to forget about eye health and regular eye visits, especially when nothing seems out of the ordinary. Just as all other body parts grow on children, eyes continually develop and change. Routine eye doctor visits help parents stay on top of pediatric eye health and development and track potential changes.
A child’s pediatrician will conduct basic eye exams during appointments, but it’s still important to schedule routine exams with pediatric eye doctors.
Four reasons to schedule exams with a doctor to check on your child’s pediatric eye health
Gives comprehensive eye exam.
Tracks pediatric eye development.
Access to cutting edge tools and procedures.
Detects and treats eye concerns.
Studies suggest that up to 10 percent of preschoolers and up to 25 percent of school-age youth experience vision concerns. This is why visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist on a regular basis is necessary. It’s recommended an eye doctor be seen as early as six months, and definitely by age three.
Eye conditions do exist and are not uncommon. Early detection can diagnose and help parents and guardians establish plans, interventions and protocols. And in some cases, preventative measures can be taken.
There are a lot of signs that can indicate vision concerns in children. Some behaviors are more common indicators though. Six common signs of vision concerns are:
Frequent head tilting
Poor hand-eye coordination
Laterality concerns or directional confusion
Short attention span
Inconsistent reading pace
Avoiding close-focus activities
According to the Mayo Clinic, other potential signs of vision concerns or vision loss include squinting, complaints of headaches or blurry vision, and in some cases, depression.
It’s believed three-quarters of the U.S. population wear glasses. Of this, more than 25 percent are under the age of 18.
Wearing eyeglasses is common. Most people know someone who uses corrective lenses. Scheduling consistent eye exams for children help detect these changes and allow a child to start wearing glasses sooner rather than later. The use of a corrective lens helps these kids educationally and socially.
In the event a child is experiencing vision loss that can’t be corrected, it’s okay. Vision loss can be scary and overwhelming, but early detection will help a child grow and learn in the way that works for them. And the sooner a diagnosis is determined, the sooner parents and guardians can create goals and plans with doctors and schools.
Resources are available for all ages, including infants. It’s possible for people with vision loss to excel in school and achieve success alongside peers. But it’s important parents and guardians are aware of what supports are available.
The next time you schedule appointments for your child’s pediatric eye health, don’t forget to include a check-up with an eye doctor. This is just as crucial as tracking any other type of development in children.
If you suspect your child may be losing vision, Outlook Enrichment is here to help. We can answer your questions and connect you with other organizations that can help. We also offer programs designed specifically for people with vision loss. Contact us to learn more.