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The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children receive eye exams at 6 months, 3 years, 5 years, and yearly while in school. Children require precise vision so that their visual system develops properly. 1 in every 4 children has some type of visual impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and binocular vision impairments such as crossed eyes or focusing problems. Often, these conditions are present with little or no symptoms from the child.
In addition to the above conditions, amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) is common in children. Amblyopia can be caused by a number of different things, but the most common reasons are large prescriptions in one or both eyes and strabismus (a misalignment of the eyes). Amblyopia is usually treated with glasses. Sometimes, a series of eye patching and/or eye drops is administered to regain lost vision.
Our pediatric exams also evaluate for the presence of retinoblastoma, the 7th most common form of childhood cancer. Our exams include a thorough retinal evaluation to detect the presence of this condition. Our retinal exams also detect for the presence of congenital glaucoma, diabetes and hypertension, among other ocular conditions. In the fall of 2009, Ocean Eye made the Optos Retinal Imaging Device available to their patients. The Optos gives our doctors a wide view of the retina. This means that for many of our patients, we do not have to dilate their eyes, which can be a great advantage when examining children because there are no drops to fear. We have been able to get Optos Retinal Images on patients as young as 6.
Many children also struggle with a condition called convergence insufficiency. This often causes eye discomfort, headaches, sleepiness while reading, or blurred vision while doing near work. These symptoms (sometimes parents and teachers are not aware) can cause your child to struggle with school related tasks and can affect learning and school performance.
We are also proud to offer complimentary eye exams to children under the age of 1 in order to ensure your child's visual system starts off on the right track!
If you have questions about your child's vision or would like to schedule an exam for your little one, please call our office or click here.