What is a Pediatric Eye Exam?
Pediatric eye exams differ from adult eye exams when it comes to how your pediatric eye doctor performs tests for detecting vision and eye health problems in children. Parents need to make sure children receive regular eye exams to prevent worsening of eye issues since children are good at adapting to slow-to-develop refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness). Possible warning signs that parents should take their child to pediatric optometrist include blinking and squinting frequently, being told by teachers that their child has a short attention span and atypical clumsiness not attributed to muscle or neurological disorders.
What to Expect from a Kids Eye Exam
A pediatric eye doctor begins a child's eye exam by physically inspecting the visible health of the eyes. This evaluation is followed by:
- Assessment of the retina and vitreous humor using a ophthalmoscope, a small, handheld tool equipped with a light and microscope
- Testing of the corneal reflexes to determine if incoming light reflected off the corneas are focused and centered on the pupils
- Completing vision tests involving children reading or identifying letters or images at multiple distances
- Detecting eye misalignment due to muscle abnormalities by covering a child's eye with a patch to see if the unpatched eye moves appropriately to adopt the position as the dominant eye
A pediatric eye doctor is trained to work with children and reduce any stress or fear felt by younger patients. No pediatric eye exam tests are uncomfortable or involve touching of the eye with instruments.
Eye Disorders Affecting Children
Pediatric optometrists look for specific eye problems common to young children. These include:
- Refractive errors-- refractive errors affect your ability to see clearly (astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness) and usually require prescription lenses to improve vision.
- Strabismus--sometimes called "wandering" eye, strabismus is an eye muscle problem preventing a child's eyes from focusing on one image. Instead of sending one, clear image to the brain, eyes affected by strabismus send two unfocused images to the brain. When caught in its early stages, strabismus is treated by covering the good eye with a patch. This forces the wandering eye's muscles to work harder at focusing.
- Amblyopia--amblyopia (lazy eye) simply means vision never developed normally in the affected eye. When a child's brain receives unfocused images from an eye suffering amblyopia, the brain learns to ignore these images. Having a pediatric optometrist detect amblyopia as soon as possible means treatment can begin immediately to avoid long-term vision impairment.
Bring Your Kids for an Eye Exam With Our Local Optometrist Today
Children with eye and/or vision problems often have difficulty in school simply because they cannot see what is written on the blackboard or in textbooks. Eyestrain, headaches, and loss of self-esteem due to untreated vision issues will also impede a child's ability to succeed in school. Your pediatric eye doctor urges all parents to make sure their children receive regular kids eye exams every year.
Contact Eyes On Henry today at 864-585-0208 to schedule an exam for your child.