Before birth, proper prenatal care and a nutritional diet will aid in the development of your baby’s eyes. Infants are born with an underdeveloped visual system. Your baby’s vision will grow and develop with him. It will start out in his first few weeks as blurry, shadowy and progress to performing complex visual tasks by school age. Toys, games and playtime activities that encourage visual development will help your child’s visual development. Early detection and treatment of eye disease and/or visual problems are essential for proper visual development.
Your baby’s doctor will examine his eyes for general eye health and visual acuity. At birth, your baby’s eyes should be examined for any congenital eye problems. Although these problems are rare, early diagnosis and treatment are important.
Around age three and again before entering school, you should schedule your child for a thorough eye examination. All doctors of optometry are equipped to examine children of this age and older.
School-age children should have periodic examination to screen for eye focusing and/or eye coordination problems that could affect their school performance. Exams are recommended every two years or more frequently if problems or risk factors exist.
School vision screenings and your child’s pediatric examinations are designed to detect possible visual problems but do not take the place of a thorough exam by an optometrist.
Symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem:
Jerking, erratic eye movements or lack or fixation in infants
Avoiding activities that require near vision
Holding objects very close to the eyes or sitting close to the T.V.
Using a finger to follow along while reading
Turning or tilting the head or body when reading or performing tasks
Squinting, closing or covering one eye
Rubbing or blinking excessively
Headaches, nausea or dizziness
Redness or excessive tearing of the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Reversing words, letters or numbers when reading or writing
Confusing words with similar or same beginnings or endings
Omitting words or repeating or skipping lines when reading
Writing uphill or downhill or out of lines
Performing any tasks below potential