John Frederick, MD
The wonders of the world are often first encountered through the eyes of a child. Yet without good vision, a child’s ability to learn about the world becomes more difficult. Vision problems affect one in 10 preschoolers and one in five school age children. Children often don’t realize they have vision problems, yet until age 12, vision is 80% responsible for the learning process. Since many vision problems begin at an early age, it is very important that children receive proper eye care.
A common misconception is the thought that school screenings are adequate. Unfortunately, these screenings take place later in childhood than the ideal time for starting treatment and are often not sensitive enough to detect all eye problems. Current recommendations are for every child to undergo an eye examination by age three. The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the American Academy of Ophthalmology all support this recommendation. Among the conditions an eye care professional will look for are amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid), color deficiency (color blindness) and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism).
On average more than one child per classroom suffers from amblyopia or strabismus (crossed or lazy eye). The earlier a visual problem is detected the sooner treatment can be instituted. Take for instance, amblyopia therapy. Treatment is much more effective at an earlier age, but can be attempted up to about age nine. If found early enough, treatment can often completely restore vision. If not treated by the age of two, there is a greater chance of losing binocular visual function (the ability to use the two eyes together – or depth perception). Treatment may be as simple as glasses or using eye drops, but also may involve eye patches or surgery.
A toddler’s eye exam should be as customary as regular check-ups by the doctor, getting immunizations and seeing the dentist. ESA wants every child to begin their schooling on the right foot, so we have special pricing on eye exams for incoming Kindergartners for the 2016 – 2017 school year. Don’t let vision interfere with school performance, call today.
BIO: Dr. Frederick, with Eye Surgeons Associates, is fellowship trained in Pediatric Ophthalmology and certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He practices in Bettendorf, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois. For more information, please visit: esaeyecare.com.
The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.