Your Twins’ Eye Health
When is the age your child should first be examined by an eye care professional? One year old? Two? Or not until it’s time for school?
Actually, the American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first eye exam at 6 months of age. YES, six months. And then at 3 years old at least, and again before they start kindergarten. Once in school, they should be checked every year.
While many pediatricians offices offer basic screenings, that is not the equivalent of a full exam of ocular health and vision by an eye care professional.
You may be thinking: Is it really that important? Consider this–Approximately 80% of what your child learns from their earliest stages is through their visual sense. So it’s vital to make sure that their system is developing as it should. Oftentimes, parents do not notice that there is something wrong by their child’s behavior, especially if only one eye is affected. Small children also don’t know to alert you to a problem. This sort of diagnosis is treated much more effectively when caught as early as possible.
What happens in a pediatric exam? Don’t worry, we don’t ask your preschooler, “What looks better, 1 or 2?” We use age- and developmentally-appropriate toys and objects to check your child’s visual acuity. They do not even have to be verbal for a pediatric-centered eye care professional to get these readings. We are also able to detect abnormal amounts of farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism using a instrument that doesn’t even have to touch your child.
During the exam, we are also paying close attention to eye alignment and depth perception cues, looking for any risk of developing a “lazy eye” or eye turn. We look at their ability to maintain focus for nearwork and their ability to use the eyes as a team. We also examine the front and inside of your child’s eye to assure that all the structures are developing normally and are able to treat common conditions such as ocular allergies, eye infections, clogged tear ducts and more.
Children who are born prematurely, as many multiples are, are at an increased risk for medical condition and for vision problems as well, so with twins, triplets, etc., it’s all the more important to have your children assessed by an eye care professional.
Not all eye care providers are created equal when it comes to examining small children. Many eye care providers do not see children that are not yet in school or able to recognize letters. At Eyediology Vision Care, however, we are equipped to see patients of all ages and developmental levels. We try our best to make the experience as enjoyable and fun as possible for your little ones (and you) and offer eyewear to fit even the tiniest of patients. We also communicate (with your permission) our findings with your child’s pediatrician to assure all healthcare professionals are working together in sync to care for your child.