The importance of Eye Exams for children
Jan 09 2017 By Dr. Wafaa Al Chaer
Eye exams for children are very important to ensure normal vision development and to confirm the visual acuity and visual skills for schoolwork and other activities.
Children don’t always know what normal vision looks like, so they are unlikely to complain of vision problems. However, because vision is so closely linked to the learning process, undetected vision problems can lead to schoolwork difficulties. Eye exams for children are essential, as 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school children have vision problems. The response time of the necessary treatment is crucial to prevent further deterioration.
First, a comprehensive eye exam should be completed at 6 months of age. Children should then have an additional eye exam at age 3 and another one just before entering school at 5 or 6 years of age.
For school children, a vision test should be carried out every two years. A child who needs correction, either with near or farsightedness and astigmatism should have a follow-up eye exam every six months.
In addition to evaluating your child’s eyes for glasses and contacts, an Ophthalmologist will check their eyes for eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss. Here are some examples of the conditions that could occur:
- Refractive error – This refers to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Refractive errors are corrected with eyeglasses, contacts or refractive surgery.
- Amblyopia – This occurs when the eyes are misaligned or when one eye has a much higher degree of refractive error than the other. In such cases, the brain often will ignore or suppress vision from the turned or blurry eye. Left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. Amblyopia usually is treated by patching the stronger eye or by instilling eye drops that blur vision in the stronger eye. These methods require the child to use the amblyopic eye more extensively, which usually improves its visual acuity.
If your child is due for an eye exam, best to book an appointment with Dr. Wafaa Al Chaer, our renowned Specialist Ophthalmologist by calling the Jumeirah Medical branch on 04 349 4880.
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