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Many people don't know that children can and should visit the eye doctor well before they can read. Eye doctors have invented many creative ways to assess the visual acuity of a child or infant who cannot tell them what the letters on an eye chart say. Early eye exams are crucial for catching vision problems when they are still in an early, more treatable stage.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have an eye exam at 6 months, 3 years, and 5 to 6 years old. All children should have an eye exam before beginning school, and after a child is in school, they should see an eye doctor at least every other year. Children with vision problems or those whose optometrists recommend it should be seen more often. Kids eye exams help ensure that children don't miss out at school or in other parts of life due to uncorrected vision problems.
It might not seem like a big deal for a small child to have slightly impaired vision. After all, they are not typically trying to perform difficult tasks or read instructions. However, they are developing their brains and visual acuity. Even relatively minor issues can make it harder for a child to learn to perform physical or academic skills. Playing sports or learning to read and write are both considerably harder if your child cannot see well.
It also may seem like most kids have pretty good vision. This is true, but a significant percentage do not. The AOA says that 25 percent of school-age children have some type of vision impairment, and a research study found that 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers do, too. These percentages are certainly high enough to warrant regular eye exams for all children.
Even if your child is already in school and it is not the time for a scheduled eye exam, there are some signs that warrant an early visit. Academic frustration and acting out can be signs of a child who is having a hard time reading the whiteboard. Children who are struggling to learn to read and write should also have their vision checked. Many schools have a back to school vision screening program, and any children who fail this test should definitely be taken to see an eye doctor.
The benefits of early-age kids eye exams can be enormous. Because the brain is still developing, interventions for conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes) are much more effective than they would be on an older child or adult. A regular back to school vision check is also a good habit of falling into because children of all ages are still developing and thus more prone to visual changes than adults. Just because your child's vision was perfect last fall doesn't mean it still is.
Alpine Vision has three convenient offices located in Falcon, Windsor, and Colorado Springs, CO. We know that kids eye exams are a crucial part of making sure your child is prepared for school and life. If it is time for your child to see an eye doctor, call us today.