I hope you are enjoying these almost perfect summer days; what an incredible stretch of weather we are having here along the Connecticut shoreline!
If you’ve spent any time cruising social media while poolside, have you seen our Facebook giveaway? We are offering TWO FREE movie tickets each week for the remainder of the summer and into…shall I say it?…early fall. All you have to do to enter is answer our weekly poll. Our first, and very important, question was: A child should have their first comprehensive vision exam at what age? The answer choices were: 6 months or 3 years.
The correct answer is 6 months!—then 3 years, and again at age 5 or 6 before entering kindergarten.
Prior to this exam there are things that you, as the parent, can do to encourage and facilitate the development of all five senses, including vision. Here’s a list from covd.org, a resource we use often in this office:
Infants are not born with complete vision. Good vision is developed through a learned process of looking, touching, and exploring. Parents can play an important role in helping to ensure that their baby learns to see well.
- Lots of tummy time
- Follow faces up, down, sideways, closer, farther
- Make noises to the side so baby turns toward them
- Change position frequently so their view of the world changes
- Let baby bounce on the bed with support for both hands to encourage balancing
- Lots of toys to touch, grasp, listen to and find with eyes and ears
At this early age, you may think, “well my child doesn’t know his or her letters. In fact, he couldn’t even speak clearly enough or stand up straight to read that classic visual acuity chart we know well in our mind’s eye. What’s the use?”
Please know that there is a major difference between a vision screening and a vision exam. In contrast to vision screening, a comprehensive eye exam can diagnose visual problems even at a young age. Sometimes, it involves the use of eye drops to dilate the pupil, enabling a more thorough investigation of the overall health of the eye and the visual system. In our office, we have non-invasive, even therapeutic, ways to test your child’s visual system.
If your child is referred by a pediatrician because abnormal behavior has been observed, don’t hesitate. If you’re child has a developmental delay or a neuropsychological condition, again, don’t hesitate. There is help; there is support out there for you. The American Academy of Opthalmology states that: “Children with medical conditions (e.g., Down syndrome, prematurity, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, neurofibromatosis) or a family history of amblyopia, strabismus, retinoblastoma, congenital cataracts or congenital glaucoma are at higher risk for developing pediatric eye problems.”
I understand it’s a lot to think about all at once, especially if you are a new mom, but as our office motto states, wouldn’t you want your beloved child to see the world as it really is?!
Until next time, check out our poll and stay well,
Meredith, Vision Therapist