The childhood years are a time of crucial eye development. A child’s eyes continue developing up through their pre-teen years. This is a critical period for eye problems to manifest and for vision problems to be corrected. You can correct a child’s vision problems by choosing glasses for them. Choosing glasses for your child will not only help them see clearer but will help them excel in school and at home. Find out how your child’s eyes develop and what options are available to them if vision problems are present!
Technology allows us the ability to detect eye problems in tiny infants. Good vision is not something an infant is born with immediately. In fact, vision develops over the first 10 years of life. An infant goes through phases of vision development to eventually see color, distances, detail and more. The main milestones in infant vision develop over the first 24 months of life. At birth, a baby can only focus on objects 8-10 inches from their faces at first and can’t easily differentiate between two targets at once.
By 8 weeks, an infant can focus their eyes on people’s faces or objects. For the first few months, a baby’s eyes tend to be crossed or uncoordinated, but they should begin to follow objects around 3 months of age. In the first year of life, they also develop depth perception, color vision, eye-hand-foot-body coordination, and judging distances. Babies should see an eye doctor if they are not hitting vision milestones, if their eyes tear too much, or if one or more of the eyes are not focusing correctly. Seeing an eye doctor and choosing glasses for infants can correct vision problems early-on.
Children’s vision health can shape their future. This is especially true when a child starts preschool and sets off on their journey for learning. Uncorrected vision conditions or eye health issues in children can cause them to struggle socially, academically and physically. If a child can’t see a board at school or can’t see books or objects well at home, their learning can quickly decline. Look for signs like these that indicate a vision problem:
Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
Squinting or tilting their head
Frequently rubbing their eyes
Short attention span for the child’s age
Turning of an eye in or out
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or riding a bike
Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles, and other detailed activities
All of these behaviors suggest that your child may need glasses. You should have your child receive a pediatric eye exam right away
Millions of people wear glasses every day to correct their vision problems. In children and infants, glasses can help correct vision problems and can help them see clearly if the problem is a refractive error. Even very small babies can have glasses made for them that are soft and will stay on their face. Infants and children wear glasses for reason such as:
Developing a better vision, especially if the vision in one eye is weak. This is sometimes called “amblyopia” or “lazy eye”. This is when one eye is relatively fine, but the other eye has a significant need for glasses due to problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Straightening the eyes if one or both is crossed or misaligned.
Protecting one eye if it has low or poor vision. Glasses can also be worn if an infant scratches their eyes and you want to prevent corneal injuries.
Helping a child to succeed. When a child can see better, they can learn quicker and better as well.
For some parents, a child won’t want to wear their glasses. Choosing glasses that strap to an infant or toddler’s head can help that problem, while also encouraging the child to wear their glasses often. Choosing glasses that a child likes (color, shape, correct prescription, etc.) can also help increase the likelihood that a child will wear their glasses. If you are choosing glasses for sports, require your child to wear the glasses if they want to participate, which will help them wear them. Throughout the process of choosing glasses, make sure to involve your child as much as possible.
Every person needs eye exams many times throughout their lives. The American Optometric Association recommends receiving an eye exam at least every 2 years, or more often if you have vision problems. Infants should see their eye doctor around 6 months of age and then at age 3 and 5. After age 6, patients who are free of eye problems should see the eye doctor every 2 years. Make sure your child receives a pediatric eye exam at least every two years (or even more frequently), once they are 3.
A pediatric eye exam tests for problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye movement ability, proper eye alignment, reactions to light and darkness, and more. Finding problems early-on is critical for the development of your child. Prepare your child for a lifetime of eye health and wellness with a pediatric eye exam. Come into our office if you notice visual problems in infants or at any time during your child’s life. For your free consultation and to learn more about choosing glasses for your child, call Optical Masters today at (720) 782-2190!