Why Children Need A Comprehensive Eye Exam

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Child and Pediatric Care, Eye Health

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What comes to mind when you think of a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

We’re guessing your list probably includes vinyl recovery beds, jars full of wooden tongue depressors, and the big E eye chart. For over a century and a half, that big E chart (officially called the Snellen chart) has been an excellent diagnostic tool for identifying nearsightedness…but not much else. There are many other ways a child’s vision might not be working properly, which is why it’s so important for children to get a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist!

The Link Between Vision and Learning

Being able to see clearly and perform visual tasks well is hugely important to a child’s education, social development, and even athletic performance. Up to 80% of learning is visual, with all those whiteboards and textbooks and writing assignments to look at, among many other things.

The Less Obvious Vision Problems

What does the Snellen eye chart miss? Basically any vision problem that isn’t nearsightedness. A comprehensive eye exam, on the other hand, will also test for farsightedness, astigmatism, color blindness, visual perception, hand-eye coordination, and important binocular vision skills like focusing, tracking, and teaming. Any of these problems can negatively impact learning if they go untreated.

When a Vision Problem Remains Undiagnosed

Unlike adults, children don’t have the vocabulary or understanding to recognize what “good eyesight” is supposed to be like. They only have their own experience to go off of, so if it hurts to focus on close-up work for long, they probably won’t know why. Children might believe they’re not smart enough for school. In fact, children display a lot of the symptoms common in learning disorders, and without a comprehensive eye exam, there’s a good chance they’ll be misdiagnosed with one.

Recognize the Symptoms of Eye Problems

Some eye problems are easy to spot, such as an eye that points the wrong direction. However,Other symptoms are more subtle.

These include: 

  • Reading comprehension problems
  • Difficulty completing schoolwork
  • Short attention span (particularly for close-up tasks)
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Frequent blinking and eye rubbing
  • Fidgeting

Give Your Child a Good Start with an Comprehensive Eye Exam

Every child should have a comprehensive eye exam early in their schooling so that any eye problems can be caught and treated quickly. With the new school year starting, this is a great time to schedule an eye exam for your child. We can either rule out or identify any vision problems, even the less obvious ones, and determine the best steps to take next!

We look forward to seeing you and helping you see well!

Three Common Vision Problems

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Child and Pediatric Care, Eye Health

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Most people who start needing glasses or contacts while they’re young have at least one of three common vision problems : myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

These common vision problems are all refractive errors, which means they’re problems with the way the eyes focus light, rather than an eye disease. Refractive errors have to do with the physical shape of our eyes, so let’s take a closer look!

Myopia: What’s Right In Front Of You

Myopia is the technical term for nearsightedness, meaning that you can see clearly up close but distant objects are blurred. This happens when the eyeball itself is too long, or when the cornea is too curved. That additional curvature or length causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it, which makes the resulting images look fuzzy.

The way glasses or contacts correct myopia is by compensating for this error to extend the light’s focus onto the retina where it belongs. These lenses are concave (thinner in the middle), and always have a negative prescription.

Hyperopia: Gazing Into The Distance 

Hyperopia, better known as farsightedness, means that you can see distant objects clearly, but everything up close is blurry. This common vision problem happens for the opposite reasons that myopia does. Instead of being too long, the eyeball is too short, or else the cornea is too flat. This causes light to focus behind the retina, making near images fuzzy.

In order to correct hyperopia, corrective lenses must be convex (thicker in the middle) and have a positive prescription. The larger the number, the stronger the prescription.

Astigmatism: A Warped Perspective

The third common refractive error people experience is astigmatism, and it’s a little different from the other two. A normal cornea is uniformly curved so that there is a single focal point. A cornea with astigmatism is more football shaped, creating multiple focal points, which makes things appear blurry at any distance and bends their images.

Astigmatism is often paired with one of the other refractive errors, and it requires more complex lenses to correct than they do. Typically, the lens will be somewhat cylindrical rather than spherical.

Keep Your Prescription Updated!

All three types of refractive error can worsen over time. This is which is why most people don’t keep the same prescription forever. If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, or if you’re noticing blurriness where there used to be clarity, having sharp vision again is just one appointment away!

Thank you for always putting your trust in us!  Ask your Doctors at Levin Eye Care Center with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tips Every Parent Should Know For Healthy Vision Development In Children

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Child and Pediatric Care, Eye Health

Healthy Vision Development In Children Levin Eye Care Center

Did you know that babies have to learn how to see, just as much as they have to learn how to walk and talk?

That’s right, learning how to use their eyes and understand what they’re seeing is a process and critical to healthy vision development in children. There’s a lot we can do as parents to help them develop essential visual skills — everything from choosing the right toys for their age to knowing when it’s time to move on from playing peek-a-boo with them.

Newborn Eyesight: the First Six Months

An infant sees a world of light, shadows, and blurry shapes. They can only focus on objects 8-15 inches away — the perfect distance for looking at the face of the person holding them! Over time, their eyesight grows clearer and sharper, and there are a few things you can do to help foster healthy vision development In Children.

  • Encourage them to learn how to track movement with their eyes by moving objects in front of them
  • Give them plenty of color to look at. Their color vision will take a few weeks to begin developing, and then they won’t be able to get enough of those bright colors, which is why they love to look at mobiles so much.
  • Play peek-a-boo! This doesn’t just get them to laugh and make adorable surprised faces; it’s helping them learn to focus their eyes.

Quick Learners: 6-12 Months

By this point, your baby will begin developing hand-eye coordination, and you can help them along by giving them plenty of colorful objects to grab and play with. Crawling helps develop their coordination too, but it might take a couple of bumps on their cute noggins before they remember that their heads don’t stop at their eyes!

Around this age, you’ll probably notice that your baby isn’t so entertained by peek-a-boo anymore. This is because they’ve learned object permanence. They understand that Mommy and Daddy didn’t just blink out of existence like wizards when they went behind their hands. A good new game to play at this point is hide-and-seek, hiding a toy under a blanket and challenging them to find it.

Toddlerhood and Advanced Visual Skills

Around the time your baby learns to walk, they will be able to further improve their hand-eye coordination by throwing, bouncing, and chasing balls. Their visual skills in this area are tied to other important skills like comprehension and balance. As their vocabularies develop, they’ll be able to start putting names to objects.

By about age two, they’ll begin to discover their burgeoning artistic abilities, so make sure to provide them with drawing materials. Wooden blocks or interlocking blocks will be excellent toys for them at this age as well.

The Role of Eye Exams in Baby Eye Health

On top of providing your children with the right types of toys to encourage their developing visual skills, it’s also important to bring them in for eye exams. Unlike older children, who have the words and understanding to tell you when something’s wrong with their vision, babies and toddlers are fully dependent on adults to figure out when there’s a problem. This is why scheduling their first eye exam for around six months old is so important!

Your child’s healthy lifelong vision is one of our highest priorities!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.