By: Tincy Thomas, O.D.
Children require clear and comfortable vision to be successful in school and extracurricular activities. They use their eyes to read, write, throw a ball, use computers, watch TV, and everything else. As children advance in school, the demand for clear vision increases because they spend more time reading and learning. Therefore, any vision problems for children should be addressed at an early age to help prevent visual and learning problems.
There are many signs of difficulty with vision that may be more complicated than blurry vision alone. Children may:
· Avoid reading
· Have trouble learning
· Notice that letters float on the page
· Experience double or blurry vision
· Rub their eyes
· Experience headaches
· Have trouble focusing
Many different conditions can cause the above complaints, including:
· Strabismus (Eye turns)
· Amblyopia (Lazy/Underdeveloped Eye)
· Eye Focusing Disorders
· Eye Teaming Disorders
· Eye Tracking Disorders
· Eye-Hand Coordination Disorders
· Visual Perception Disorders
Luckily, many of these visual problems can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, patching, or vision therapy if these conditions are diagnosed early.
Many parents assume they have no visual problems when a child passes their school screening. However, school screenings usually only test distance vision, and may not assess other aspects of the eyes, including near vision, eye teaming, eye focusing, and eye health through dilation. All of these pieces of an eye examination are necessary to ensure that a child has the proper vision to learn appropriately. In addition, children’s eyes are constantly changing and developing, and they may not even notice when problems have started. Visual problems can even be misdiagnosed as learning disabilities and attention deficits. Therefore, if issues have not been noted sooner, the first time a comprehensive eye exam should be completed is at six months of age and continued yearly from age three, unless recommended more frequently by your eye doctor.
At Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, we strive for excellent care for children and adults of all ages. Please get in touch with me with any questions or concerns. To schedule an eye exam appointment for your child or yourself at any of our eight convenient locations, call us at 800-282-3937 or visit us online at EYESFL.COM.
Dr. Tincy Thomas is a board-certified optometrist who sees patients at the Lakeland-Highlands location for Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida. She specializes in primary care optometry, contact lenses, dry eye disease, and pediatric eye care.