Children's Vision

Did you know that 1 out of every 4 children suffers from vision problems that interfere with learning?

Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially, and athletically. High-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential! As a parent, make sure you are giving your children the eye care they need. Presented are guidelines from the American Optometric Association.

Infant's Vision

Did you know your baby also has to learn to see? Healthy eyes and good vision play a critical role in how infants and children learn to see. Eye and vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays. It is important to detect any problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn.

As a parent, there are many things that you can do to help your baby's vision develop.

At about six months, you should schedule your baby's for first eye examination. Your baby will be checked for high degree of refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Eye health must be checked at that visit as well. Serious eye problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this stage.

Vision development and eye health problems can be more easily corrected if treatment is begun early. Unless you notice a need, or we advise you otherwise, your child's next examination should be around age three, and then again before he or she enters school.

During The First 4 Months

Around three-four months of age, your baby’s hand-eye coordination develops. Your baby should begin to follow moving objects with the eyes and reach for things. To help, use a nightlight or other dim lamp in your baby's room; change the crib's position frequently and your child's position in it; keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby's focus, about eight to twelve inches; talk to your baby as you walk around the room; alternate right and left sides with each feeding; and hang a mobile above and outside the crib.

From 4-8 Months

Your baby should begin to turn from side to side and use his or her arms and legs. Eye movement and eye/body coordination skills should develop further and both eyes should focus equally. Have fun with yoir baby, get down on the floor, crawl and explore together! It is important to give your baby freedom to move around and explore different shapes and textures. Play "patty cake" and "peek-a-boo" with your baby.

From 8-12 Months

Your baby should be mobile now, crawling and pulling himself or herself up. You will see that your babybegin to use both eyes together and judge distances and grasp and throw objects with greater precision. To support development don't encourage early walking; crawling is important in developing eye-hand-foot-body coordination; give your baby stacking and take-apart toys; and provide objects your baby can touch, hold and see at the same time.

From 1-2 Years

Your child's eye-hand coordination and depth perception will continue to develop, and he or she will begin to understand abstract terms. Your child should have a rich learning environment that includes a variety of toys such as building blocks, simple puzzles and balls. the toddler should have plenty of opportunities to climb and explore indoors and out.

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Pre-School Vision

In the preschool years, your child's visual motor skills, eye-hand-body coordination and fine motor skills continue to develop. You should read aloud to your child as much as possible now, let your child play with chalkboard, finger paint and different shaped blocks. These everyday things are very easy to incorporate in your life and will ensure that your prechooler's vision develops as it should. If you notice that your child shows no interest in books, loses attention too quickly or bumps into things, you should consider bringing him/her in for a comprehensive eye exam. It could be nothing or it could be a symptom of an ocular disorder.

By Age 3

Now is the time for a comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Batushansky will examine your child's vision and will make recommendations. If needed, she can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct a vision development problem.

Here are several tips to make your child's optometric examination a positive experience:

  • Make an appointment early in the day
  • Allow about one hour
  • Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child's questions
  • Explain the examination in your child's terms. This will help your child to view the trip to an eye doctor as a fun positive experience.

Unless recommended otherwise, your child's next eye examination should be at age five.

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School-Age Vision

Your child needs many abilities to do well in school, but good vision is a key. as much as 80% of the learning a child ones occurs through his or her eyes. Your child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. So when his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. The basic vision skills needed for school use are:

  • Near Vision: The ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
  • Distance Vision: The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm's reach.
  • Binocular Coordination: The ability to use both eyes together.
  • Eye Movement Skills: The ability to aim the eyes accurately, move them smoothly across a page and shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another.
  • Focusing Skills: The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and then change focus quickly.
  • Peripheral Awareness: The ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead.
  • Eye/Hand Coordination: The ability to use the eyes and hands together.

If any of these or other vision skills is lacking or does not functions properly, your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain problems. As a parent, be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem.

Be sure to tell us if your child:

  • Avoids reading
  • Seems frustrated when doing any kind of close work
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Tends to rub their eyes
  • Complains of frequent headaches
  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential

Each year thousands of children suffer sports related eye injuries rhat coud have been prevented if only appropriate protective eyewear was used. Please don't overlook the importance of safety eyewear! To help prevent sports eye injuries, athletes should use protective athletic eyewear even if prescription eyewear is not needed. Choose protective eyewear with "ANSI Z87.1" marked n the lens or frame. This means the glasses, goggles or face shield meets the American National Stabdards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 for safety. Our experienced optician Ella Shvartsman will go over your child's sports activities with you to help you determine what kind of sports protection your child should use.

Baseball or softball players who are hit in or near the eye, or suffer a blow to the head, should seek immediate care at a hospital emergency room or from an eye care professional.

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Protective Eyewear

Please don't overlook the importance of safety eyewear when playing sports. Each year, hundreds of men, women, and children are injured when playing sports. To help prevent sports eye injuries, athletes should use protective athletic eyewear whether or not prescription eyewear is needed. One choice is a sports frame with prescription or non-prescription polycarbonate lenses is another choice. Baseball or softball players who are hit in or near the eye, or suffer a blow to the head, should seek immediate care at a hospital emergency room or from an eye care professional.

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Children & Contact Lenses

The important thing for parents and their children who wear contact lenses to remember is that contacts are prescribed medical devices. Contact lenses are not a cosmetic accessory. While the wearer may be happy about his or her new look, it's extremely important that the lenses be properly cleaned and worn according to the instructions given by our office. Doctor bases her decision to start a child on contact lenses on child's maturity level, child's motivation and child's personl hygiene habits. It is a joint decision between a parent and a doctor. Once you and Dr. Batushansky decide that contact lenses would be a good choice for your child, our contact lens technician Heather Heim will take time to teach your child how to wear his or her new lenses, how to care for them and what to look for if something goes wrong. Most of the time, our young contact lens wearers leave the office very happy, excited and well trained to use their lenses. We realize that contact lenses can improve how a child feels about his or her appearance. Numerous studies have shown that children who wear contact lenses score higher on self-perception of their physical appearance, athletic competence and social acceptance. Please, don't underestimate the importance of self-esteem at this sensitive age! If worn properly and all doctor's instructions are followed, contact lenses might be a great choice for your child!

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