Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability among children in the U.S. and many of them can be prevented with proactive care.
Recent studies estimate that only 21 percent of all preschool children are screened for vision problems and just 14 percent receive comprehensive eye exams.
According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months, they then should have an additional eye exam at 3 years old and again just before they enter first grade – at about 5 or 6.
For school-aged children, the association recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required, while children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.
During comprehensive exams, optometrists can detect a variety of common eye issues:
Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct most of these conditions (except lazy eye, which may require eye patching to strengthen the weaker eye). It’s especially important that children whose vision demands high correction are treated at an early age. Failing to do so can leave their vision permanently disabled.
Indicators of vision problems in children include:
Appropriate vision testing at an early age is vital to ensure children have the visual skills they need to perform well in school. Children who are unable to see print or view a blackboard can become easily frustrated, leading to poor academic performance.
Dr. Malalai Mojaddidi is an optometrist affiliated with Sutter Solano Medical Center and Sutter Medical Foundation. She sees patients in Vacaville and Fairfield.