Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why is my child sitting so close to the tv?”
It can be difficult to tell if he or she has a vision problem or if they just really like sitting close to the television.
Did you know eye care experts say children should have their first eye exam before they can even walk? That’s right. Studies show 60% of students identified as problem-learners have undetected vision troubles. According to the National Eye Institute, amblyopia (lazy eye) is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood. The good news is that annual eye exams can protect your child’s vision, overall health and education.
Eye exams for children are extremely important. Five to ten percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.
Early eye exams are also important because children need the following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning:
- Near and distance vision
- Binocular (two eyes) coordination
- Eye movement skills
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Hand-eye coordination
Determining whether or not your child is having problems with their vision can be difficult. Here are some signs parents should look for:
- Crawling incorrectly.
- Bumping into furniture or walls.
- Holding objects close to their nose to see.
- Rubbing of the eyes or frequent squinting.
- Using only one eye and covering the other.
- These are indicators mom and dad may pick out before the child is in school that may necessitate a comprehensive eye exam at a young age.
Research indicates that among the 20 percent of school age children who have a learning disability in reading, 70 percent of them have some form of visual impairment, such as ocular motor, perception or binocular dysfunction, which may be interfering with their reading skills.
Parents’ biggest responsibility is compliance with the doctor’s recommendations for their child. The doctor may find that the child’s vision is poor and that glasses need to be worn at all times. It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure the child complies. In other words – it’s not going to work if a prescribed pair of glasses are on the desk at home, and the child is still squinting and getting eyestrain.