Signs of Eye and Vision Problems A child may not tell you that he or she has a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone around them sees. Signs that may indicate a child has vision problem include: · Frequent eye rubbing or blinking · Short attention span · Avoiding reading and other close activities · Frequent headaches · Covering one eye · Tilting the head to one side · Holding reading materials close to the face · An eye turning in or out · Seeing double · Losing place when reading · Difficulty remembering what he or she read
When is a vision exam needed? Your child should receive an eye examination once every year, or more frequently if specific problems or exist, or if recommended by their eye doctor.
Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school “Vision Screening”, it means the child does not have any vision problems. However, many school vision screenings only test for distance visual acuity, they do not test for a prescription or how well your child sees up close or at computer distance. A child who can see 20/20 in the distance, can still have a vision problem. In reality, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex. Even if a child passes a vision screening, they should receive a comprehensive eye examination if: · They show any of the signs or symptoms of a vision problem listed above. · They are not achieving up to their potential. · They are minimally able to achieve baseline acceptance within school but have to use excessive time and effort to do so.
Vision changes can occur without you noticing them. Therefore, your child should receive an eye examination every year, or more frequently if recommended by their eye doctor. The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated; the more likely treatment will be successful. When needed, the doctor can prescribe treatment including eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision therapy to correct any vision problems.
Sports Vision and Eye Safety Protection Outdoor games and sports are an enjoyable and an important part of most children's lives. Whether playing catch in the back yard or participating in team sports at school, vision plays an important role in how well a child performs. Specific visual skills needed for sports include: · Clear distance vision · Good depth perception · Wide field of vision · Effective eye-hand coordination
A child who consistently under performs a certain skill in a sport, such as always hitting the front of the rim in basketball or swinging late at a pitched ball in baseball, may have a vision problem. If visual skills are not adequate, the child may continue to perform poorly. Correction of vision problems with eyeglasses or contact lenses can improve sports vision performance. Eye Safety protection should also be of major concern to all student athletes, especially in certain high-risk sports. Thousands of children suffer sports-related eye injuries each year and nearly all can be prevented by using the proper protective eye wear. That is why it is essential that all children wear appropriate, protective eyewear whenever playing sports. Eye protection should also be worn for other risky activities such as lawn mowing and trimming. Regular prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are not a substitute for appropriate, well-fitted protective safety eyewear. Athletes need to use sports eyewear that is tailored to protect the eyes while playing the specific sport. Your child’s eye doctor can recommend specific sports eyewear to provide the level of protection needed. It is also important for all children to protect their eyes from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Sunglasses are needed to protect the eyes outdoors and some sport-specific designs may even help improve sports performance.
8 Back-to-school rules to help protect your kids’ eyes 1. Screenings aren’t everything. In-school “Vision Screenings” may detect basic problems, but don’t count on one for a clean bill of vision health. In fact, 10 million kids suffer from vision issues even after a school vision screening. If the screening detects an issue, see an eye doctor soon. A comprehensive eye exam can help gauge the overall health of the eyes, how they work together and other functions. 2. Vision and behavior are often blurred. Because grades may suffer and behavior changes with degrading vision, children who have trouble seeing are often misdiagnosed with behavioral problems like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Before prescribing medications, take notice if your child is holding books or other things unusually close or far away from their eyes . If he or she struggles, it may be time for an eye exam. 3. Reading, schmeading. If your kid hates to read, it may be because the letters are all mushed together or too fuzzy to detect, and this can lead to headaches, fatigue and lightheadedness. Another common sign of vision trouble is using a finger or pencil to guide the eyes while reading — even on social media. Swap out the reading for activities that sharpen vision skills, such as connect the dots or mazes to see how he or she does. 4. Make it routine. It’s recommended that by the time a child is 6 years old, she or he should have had 3 eye exams. If your child has not had a proper eye examination it’s time to schedule one. 5. Beware of tilt-a-words. Head tilting may look inquisitive and cute, but when a child makes a habit of doing so while reading, it could signal a potential vision problem. The same goes for kids who rub their eyes a lot or cover one eye while reading. 6. Going “bump” into the night, and day. Clark Kent might be able to do super things without his glasses, but kids with vision problems can’t. If your child often bumps into desks, knocks things over and trips, he might not just be clumsy. See an eye doctor to help rule out vision problems before pulling out the first aid kit. 7. Computer vision syndrome is a thing. Yes, research suggests that heavy computer use among kids can lead to early myopia (nearsightedness). This is because the computer forces the child to focus and strain more than many other tasks, which stresses the eyes. In addition to limiting computer time, and regular eye exams, be sure the workstation is ergonomically suited to a littler body. 8. See through their (scratch-free) lenses. Spend 20 minutes watching a playground and you’ll see why the lenses you pick matter when it comes to kids. Any child under the age of 18 is required in the state of California to use materials that are made of poly carbonate or stronger such as a high index material. The reason for this is Poly carbonate lenses – are more lightweight and impact- and scratch-resistant than standard plastic lenses, and therefore more likely to take a hit or fall. At Morris Eye Group we also recommend lenses that have UV protection for sun’s harmful rays and blue light protection for use when using a screen.
The Difference Between Eye Exams and Vision Screening You may be wondering why eye care professionals recommend a back-to-school “eye examination” when many children receive a “vision screening” at school. There are important differences between a “vision screening” and a “comprehensive eye exam”. Where a “vision screening” tests only for visual acuity, “comprehensive eye exams” test for visual acuity, refraction, chronic diseases, color vision and make sure the eyes are working together properly. A standard school “vision screening” mostly checks distance vision but does not check for near vision issues, meaning farsightedness is often missed. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, and eye coordination issues are also frequently missed during screenings. That means that a child may pass a vision screening because they are able to see the board, but they may not be able to see the textbook in front of them.
We have many choices today to correct our vision. What do you recommend as the earliest age for contact lenses? Many children begin to wear contact lenses at the age of twelve. Yet, many start earlier or later. This is an individual discussion we have with parents to decide what is best for their child. Many factors go into this decision-making process: a child’s personal hygiene habits, the type of lenses the child would need, the lifestyle of the child. The doctors at Morris Eye Group can help you and your child decide when the time is best for them.