Are your children seeing 20/20? Are their eyes healthy? Do they have complaints or problems in school? Are “vision screenings” at school and/or pediatrician’s office adequate?
Eighty to ninety percent of the visual system’s development occurs by the age of six months. Newborns see 20/1600 with approximately +2.00 prescription. At the age of one, babies see 20/50 with mild refractive errors including mild astigmatism. The potential to see 20/20 can be achieved between the ages of one to five years of age. The normal pattern described above can be varied in a positive or negative direction by environment, genetics, and others. It is crucial for eye care providers to monitor and intervene with a thorough eye exam at the appropriate time.
Even with 20/20 vision and normal eye appearance found at a “visual screening,” there are progressive and hidden eye conditions that can go undiagnosed.
For example, latent prescriptions, intermittent tropes, color vision defects, 3-dimensional loss, visual field defects, congenital glaucoma and cataract, and retinal abnormality can go undetected and uncorrected.
Latent prescription can only be detected when the eyes are dilated with the proper eye drops. It manifests itself as headaches, reading problems and possible eye misalignment.
[In our office, we are examining children starting at the age of one to three years.] Intermittent trope is the misalignment of the eyes under certain circumstances such as eye fatigue or binocular breakage. It reveals itself after careful cover testing. It can lead to loss of 3-D and even to amblyopia (not correctable to 20/20). The trope needs visual training to strengthen the muscles. The other conditions need to be ruled out for the assurance of the normal development of the eyes.
In any case, these can all lead to learning and perceptual problems and even blindness that can have a lasting effect on life.
In our office, we are examining children starting at the age of one to three years.
We check not only visual acuity but the accommodative and binocular status of eye, eye pressures, and the back of the eyes as well.
Eye care providers will educate parents and children on the proper and healthy ways to read, rest their eyes, have proper lighting, wear proper glasses, etc. For example, Pediatricians and Optometrists are recommending ultraviolet light protection is spectacles due to the rapid depletion of the ozone layer. In the long term, exposure to UV light can accelerate and induce cataract, age related macular degeneration, pterygium, and others. Secondly, children are advised to wear polycarbonate lenses if prescriptions are present. Refer to the lens materials section for more information.
Ensuring your child can see and feel perfectly, gives them a fair start in school and in life.
A child probably does not know what perfect vision looks like or what healthy eyes feel like. The earlier the detection of visual problems, the higher the chance of correction and prevention of the problem.