Children's Eye Care
bodies grow and change rapidly and that includes their eyes. It is important
for children to receive regular eye care to ensure their eyes are healthy and
to detect and correct eye problems in their early stages.
It's recommended that infants be evaluated by their pediatrician and have their
first eye exam at 6 months. Children should have additional eye exams when
entering preschool at age 3 and before beginning school at age 5 or 6. School
age children should visit an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam every one
to two years thereafter.
How do I know if my child’s eye condition is minor or something more serious?
While children with a family history of childhood vision problems are more likely to have eye problems themselves, all parents should know the warning signs of vision problems. Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to your baby’s or child’s eyes:
Birth to four months old
Most baby's eyes occasionally look misaligned (strabismus). However, after four months of age, inward crossing or outward drifting that occurs regularly is usually abnormal. If you notice crossing or drifting, let your child's doctor know.
Babies older than three months
Infants this age should be able to follow or “track" an object, like a toy or ball, with their eyes as it moves across their field of vision. If your baby can't make steady eye contact by this time or seems unable to see, let your child's doctor know.
Vision problems may have no warning signs so children are often unaware and most likely will not complain of vision issues. That's why it's important to have your child's vision checked. There are special tests to check their vision even if he or she can't read yet.
If you notice any of the following, Have your child's eyes examined by an eye care professional:
- Eyes that are misaligned (look crossed, turn out, or don't focus together)
- Eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down
- White or grayish-white color in the pupil
- Bulging eye(s) or drooping eyelid(s)
- Pus or crust in either eye or eye pain, itchiness or discomfort
- Redness in either eye that doesn't go away in a few days
- Eyes that are always watery and/or sensitive to light
Other indications that your child may have a vision problem and require a comprehensive eye exam:
- Holding reading materials too close or sitting too close to the television
- Using a finger to follow along or losing their place whiel reading
- Tilting their head or closing one eye to see better
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- Excessing blinking or rubbing their eyes
- Exhibiting a short attention span
- Poor hand-eye coordination
Precautions to Consider:
Have children wear safety glasses when they're playing with chemistry sets, workshop tools, or toys that fire objects.
Have children wear the correct goggles when skiing, snowboarding, and riding on snowmobiles. They should wear helmets with face guards when playing football, ice hockey, roller hockey, and other high-impact sports.
Keep children away from fireworks, firecrackers, and other flammable materials.
Keep children away from activities like snow blowing, mowing, working with power tools or hand tools, using cleaning agents, applying fertilizer or weed-killer, or doing other work that can be dangerous to eyes.