When should kids have their eyes examined?
It is our recommendation that infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam somewhere between 6-12 months of age. This exam is primarily a screening to determine if your child’s eyes are healthy, focusing straight without any weakness or laziness and we use special cards to get a general impression of how well they see. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.
For school-aged children, we recommend an eye exam annually; in certain situations we may recommend a more frequent exam schedule based on special issues that may need to be followed closely.
Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic visual skills for learning:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Eye teaming (binocularity) skills
- Eye movement skills
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Eye/hand coordination
Because of the importance of good vision for learning and educational advancement, please schedule your child’s eye exam soon.
What’s the difference between a vision screening and a complete eye exam?
Vision screenings are general eye tests that are meant to help identify people who are at risk for vision problems. Screenings include brief vision tests performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or volunteers. The eye test you take when you get your driver's license renewed is another example of a vision screening.
A vision screening can indicate that you need to get an eye exam, but it does not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.
A comprehensive eye examination is performed by a physician specialized in the treatment of eye health and will involve careful testing of all aspects of your vision. Based upon the results of your exam, your doctor will then recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs. Remember, only an eye doctor can provide a comprehensive eye exam. Most family physicians and pediatricians are not fully trained to do this, and studies have shown that they can miss important vision problems that require treatment.
Treatment plans can include eyeglasses or contact lenses, eye exercises or surgery for muscle problems, medical treatment for eye disease or simply a recommendation that you have your eyes examined again in a specified period of time.
No matter who you are, regular eye exams are important for seeing more clearly, learning more easily and preserving your vision for life.
Why do I see “spots” or “floaters” in my vision?
Many people report seeing tiny spots, specks, flecks or “cobwebs” that drift around in front of their eyes. In most situations, these spots or floaters are nothing to worry about – they are simply tiny pieces of the eye’s gel-like vitreous that have dissolved from the back of the eye and liquefied to create a denser body. These bodies cast a shadow onto the retina – the camera film of the eye – as light passes through them. This is why the floaters are more prominent when we are looking at a bright light or a clear blue sky or at the computer screen.
However, the sudden appearance of a handful of floaters, often accompanied by light flashes, is considered an ocular emergency. Give our office a call immediately if you experience these symptoms. In this case, the floaters and/or flashes could be an indication that the vitreous or even the retina is dislodging from the back of the eye. In the case of a retinal tear or detachment, action must be taken as soon as possible to seal the tear or reattach the retina to preserve the health of the eye and your best vision.
Is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?
There is no "proper" age when a child can start wearing contact lenses. At NewVision Eyecare, we tend to work together with our families to determine if a child is "responsible" enough to wear lenses.
- Do they wash their hands regularly?
- Do they take good care of their personal belongings?
- Do they show good personal hygiene habits?
- Are they motivated to wear contact lenses?
If the answers to these questions are "yes" then it doesn't matter how old they are because they are likely to be successful no matter what age they are.