If you’re looking for a reason to get your child’s eyesight checked, look no further, August is National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month; and here at LaSante Health Center, caring for our patients is our top priority. Our optometrists, Dr. Jeffrey Hilowitz and Dr. Vanessa Mostofsky, are both exceptional doctors who are experienced in seeing young children. You should begin having your child’s eyes checked regularly starting as early as when they are a newborn. Here’s what to expect from your children’s vision visits:
Although a newborn’s vision is mostly blurry, there are still a few things that a medical professional should look for as basic indicators of eye health. A healthy set of eyes will have a red reflex, which is what appears in eyes in a flash photograph, and a blink and pupil response. An eye exam is especially necessary if your baby is born prematurely, has signs of an eye disease or if there is a family history of eye disease.
Between 6 to 12 months, a second screening should be conducted. This will usually take place at a well-child exam, which take place regularly. At this appointment, the doctor will visually inspect the eyes and check for healthy eye alignment and movement.
As your child gets older, they will continue to be more thoroughly checked to make sure their eyes are healthily developing. Often, the doctor will conduct a photoscreening test, a test where a special camera is used to take pictures of your child’s eyes. This test can help identify issues like amblyopia, or lazy eye.
It's very important than your child see an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam before starting school (pre-k or kindergarten). Optometrists are able to use objective measurements to ensure that your child does not have any refractive error which would hinder their learning, something that a pediatrician or family doctor is not able to do. Our optometrists at LaSante Health Center are skilled in this area and are sure to give you peace of mind before your child heads off to school.
Just like in prior years, your child should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common problems at this age. Luckily, myopia can be treated with corrective eyeglasses.
Often, young children are not aware of changes to their eyesight and don’t realize that their vision may be off, this is why it’s important that their eyes are checked annually once they are 5 years of age and older.