Children’s Vision Screenings
Good, clear vision is an essential element of your child’s physical growth and development and without it, he could struggle to learn about the world around him. Those children with a vision problem can find it difficult to learn colors, shapes and numbers, have more impaired judgment as they cannot see to assess the situation clearly and can find many aspects of school impossible. Nevertheless, many children simply don’t know enough to realize that their impaired vision isn’t ‘normal’ and that they could, in fact, be seeing more clearly.
We understand just how important your child’s eyesight is and our experienced team knows how to make infants, children and young adults in our care feel at ease when having vision screening assessments.
What can I expect from my child’s vision screenings?
When your child is first born, his vision system is still not fully formed and equal input is needed from both eyes so that his brain vision center develops correctly. However, if your child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected in later life. For this reason, children’s vision screenings should form a priority and you will find that your child’s eyesight is assessed at various stages. These include:
As a newborn
When your child is first born, you will probably be too enraptured with his arrival (and busy recovering from the birth!) to realize exactly what checks are being carried out on him. One of these will be a vision screening assessment. A trained health professional will perform a red reflex test which is non-invasive and checks that the eyes appear normal. If you have a family history of serious vision disorders, this test may be carried out by an ophthalmologist.
As an infant
A second screening for eye health will be carried out sometime between six months and a year after your child has been born. Again, this will just be a test to see if your infant’s eyes are responding normally.
As a pre-schooler
Around the ages of 3 to 3.5yrs, a vision screening will be carried out to determine the health of your child’s eyes and if they are reacting normally. Amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misaligned eyes) and some refractive eye errors may be diagnosed at this age. The good news is that the sooner these issues are diagnosed and treatment begins, the more likely your child it to experience successful vision correction. It may also be possible to carry out a visual acuity test or photo screening test which determines how well your child can focus on objects in near, far and middle distances.
During their school years
Once your child reaches school age, his eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment on a regular basis. Most experts recommend annual screening as children’s eyes can grow and change fairly rapidly and if your child has a vision problem that is affecting his schoolwork, failing to diagnose it fairly quickly could see him falling behind at school. It is usually once children reach school age that issues such as myopia (near-sightedness) are diagnosed.
Signs that your school-aged child may be struggling with their vision include:
- Having a short attention span
- Losing his place when reading
- Actively avoiding reading and other close activities
- Turning his head to the side when looking at something in front of him (a common sign of astigmatism, a common refractive eye error)
- Needing to sit at the front of the classroom to get the work done
- Complaining of headaches
- Seeming very tired later in the day (can be a sign of eye fatigue)
If you or your child’s teacher have any concerns about his vision it is recommended that you make an appointment with our knowledgeable eyecare team as soon as possible.
If you would like to arrange for a vision screening for your child, please get in touch with our experienced eye care team at our offices in Amarillo, TX by calling 806-304-0900.