Children should have their first eye exam at six months. At that time, an ophthalmologist is best equipped to indentify any significant health risks that might adversely affect your child’s visual and overall health. The maturation of the eyes continues throughout childhood. Often a prescription will not stabilize until around 18 years old. Until then, children may struggle with blurred vision, slow focus or a poor ability to see in “stereo.” Since children are still learning how to see, many problems can go undetected in young people if not taken to eye exams regularly.
There are some common indications that a child may need glasses:
- Squinting when trying to focus,
- Head tilting, eye rubbing or covering one eye while reading, at the computer or watching TV,
- Complaints of blurry vision at a particular distance,
- Trouble in school, especially if seated at the rear of class,
- Development of a lazy eye.
Optometrists use an assortment of examinations to ascertain a child’s need for glasses or if there are any signs that glasses may be required later in life. It is particularly vital that a child visits an optometrist before he or she begins school, returning annually to preserve their vision and ensure their education.
Here are answers to a few common questions posed by concerned parents when their children may need glasses:
Will wearing glasses make my child’s eyes “lazier” or “worse”?
No. Actually if a child wears the proper prescription during the important years of eye development, “lazy eyes” or amblyopia is often avoided altogether.
Does sitting too close to the TV or computer damage my children’s eyes?
No, there is no direct evidence that sitting too close to a screen causes any damage. However sitting too close can cause headaches and eyestrain, which is uncomfortable and may make a child reluctant to try glasses.
My child is under five and needs a corrective prescription, are there contact lenses for him or her?
Yes, there is no age limit for contact lenses. Of course, lenses must be cleaned carefully and treated appropriately.
Contact The Vision Gallery with any other concerns you might have about your children’s visual health. Our highly qualified staff is gentle with kids and can help give you peace of mind when it comes to caring for their eyes (and their future)!