Taking the Best Care of Your Child’s Eyes

By May 11, 2015 Optical Care No Comments

It is extremely essential for kids to have excellent vision while they are growing up. Good eyesight is especially pertinent when children begin school. Children with eye problems can have problems learning, which can lead to extreme emotional and social problems. To help parents make sure their kids eyes are taken care of properly, it is necessary for them to take steps to protect their children’s vision. Below are basic guidelines for parents to protect their children’s vision.

WHEN TO SEE AN EYE DOCTOR

Generally, all children should see an eye doctor before they begin kindergarten. A vision exam before primary school gives the eye doctor the ability to identify vision problems before they become a significant problem for the child. However, children who have parents or siblings with vision problems should see an eye doctor by age 3. If there is a noticeable eye problem such as a lazy eye or trouble focusing, the child should be seen much sooner than 3 years old.

HOW OFTEN CHILDREN SHOULD SEE AN EYE DOCTOR

Once a school-age child has been established with an eye doctor, the child should be re-examined every two years. This is important so that the eye doctor can monitor any changes in the child’s eyesight.

SHOULD CHILDREN SEE AN OPTOMETRIST, OPTICIAN OR OPHTHALMOLOGIST

If you have never taken your child to an eye doctor, it may seem like a very confusing choice to determine which type of eye doctor you need to see. However, the answer is not the same for every child. The type of doctor your child should see greatly depends on the type of eye issues the child is having. Below you will find a brief explanation of the different types of eye professionals to help you determine who you should schedule your child with for their first eye exam.

OPTICIAN DEFINED

An optician is an eye care professional that fits eyeglasses. This professional can also teach young children how to properly care for their contact lenses or eyeglasses. However, opticians are not eye doctors and do not perform eye exams or prescribe corrective eye wear.

OPTOMETRIST DEFINED

An optometrist is a licensed eye care professional who receives four years of specialty training before they are licensed to practice independently. Optometrists are fully trained to diagnose and treat a variety of eye problems, which means they can perform eye exams and prescribe corrective eye wear for children. Often optometrist work in close relationship to opticians who will make the eyeglasses prescribed by the optometrist and fit children properly for the prescribed eye wear.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST DEFINED

An ophthalmologist is a physician who is trained to deal with medical and surgical eye care. Ophthalmologists complete medical school, and specialized eye surgery training and vision care before becoming licensed. Much like optometrists, ophthalmologists examine, diagnose and treat eye problems in children and adults. Ophthalmologist can also prescribe corrective eye wear and are able to perform eye surgeries.

Generally, the best way option for your child’s first eye exam is to see an optometrist. If your child has complex issues that require the services of an ophthalmologist, the optometrist that examines your child will inform you of this need. If no complex issues are present, the optometrist will be able to handle your child’s basic vision needs.

PHYSICAL WARNING SIGNS OF A CHILDHOOD VISION PROBLEM

The best way to know if your child has an eye problem is to schedule your child with an optometrist for a comprehensive exam. However, there are several warning signs that may indicate you should take your child to an eye doctor as soon as possible. Warning signs that your child needs to see an optometrist include:

*A droopy eyelid
*Iris of either one or both eyes looks cloudy
*Excessive tearing of the eye or eyes
*Light sensitivity
*Frequent or long lasting redness around or in the eye
*Swollen eye or eyes
*Eye discharge

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS OF A CHILDHOOD VISION PROBLEM

While there may be an obvious physical symptom that suggests your child needs to see an optometrist for a baseline eye exam, there are also behavioral symptoms that can suggest the same thing. Behavioral symptoms that your child may have a vision problem include:

*A child that rubs their eyes frequently
*A child who sits way to close to a TV on a regular basis
*When reading or studying something, the child holds the object unusually close to their face
*Squinting while concentrating on something near or far away
*Tilting of the head while concentrating
*When watching TV or reading, a child with a vision problem may unintentionally cover one eye in an effort to see better

Since vision problems in children can lead to behavioral and emotional problems, it is essential that you take your child to the eye doctor if they exhibit any of these symptoms.

Many childhood vision problems can be taken care of easily in an optometrist’s office. By taking steps to protect your child’s eyesight, you are protecting their ability to learn and fit in with their peers, which can be incredibly relevant to their overall self-confidence and educational experience.

RESOURCES

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/hygiene-tips/how-to-care-for-your-eyes.htm

http://www.nickjr.com/kids-health/going-to-doctor/eye-doctor/eye-care-tips-for-parents_ap.html

Brighton Optical is available for your children’s eye exams, and is conveniently located in Tonawanda, NY. Please visit our website to find our contact information.

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