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Children's Vision FAQs

How often should children have their eyes examined?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. After that, kids should have routine eye exams at age 3 and again at age 5 or 6 (just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade).

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is needed. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.

 

My 5-year-old daughter just had a vision screening at school and she passed. Does she still need an eye exam?

Yes. School vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems. But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance. A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist can detect vision problems a school screening may miss.  Also, a comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of your child's eye health, which is not part of a school vision screening.  

 

What is vision therapy?

Vision therapy (also called vision training) is an individualized program of eye exercises and other methods to correct vision problems other than nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Problems treated with vision therapy include amblyopia (‘lazy eye"), eye movement and alignment problems, focusing problems, and certain visual-perceptual disorders. Vision therapy is usually performed in Dr. Safier's office, but most treatment plans also include daily vision exercises to be performed at home.

 

Can vision therapy cure learning disabilities?

No, vision therapy cannot correct learning disabilities. However, children with learning disabilities often have vision problems as well. Vision therapy can correct underlying vision problems that may be contributing to a child's learning problems.

 

Our active 1-year-old boy needs glasses to correct his farsightedness and the tendency for his eyes to cross. But he pulls them off the second they go on. We've tried an elastic band, holding his arms, tape... He just struggles and cries. How do we get him to wear his glasses?

In most cases, it just takes awhile for a toddler to get used to the sensation of wearing glasses. So persistence is the key. Also, you may want to put his glasses on as soon as he wakes up - this will usually help him adapt to the glasses easier.

But it's also a good idea to recheck the prescription and make sure his glasses were made correctly and are fitting properly. Today, there are many styles of frames for young children, including some that come with an integrated elastic band to help keep them comfortably on the child's head. Bring your son and the eyewear to our office. Even if you didn't purchase the glasses from us, we will be happy to give you our opinion about why your son is having a tough time wearing them and what you can do about it.

 

Our 3-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with strabismus and amblyopia. What are the percentages of a cure at this age?

With proper treatment, the odds are very good. Many researchers believe the visual system can still develop better visual acuity up to about age 8 to 10. If your daughter's eye turn (strabismus) is constant, it's likely surgery will be necessary to straighten her eyes in order for her therapy for amblyopia (or "lazy eye") to be successful. Strabismus surgery may be needed even if her eyes alternate in their misalignment.