Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pediatric Vision Screening

Pediatric Vision Screening

Though many vision issues are genetic in nature - just because both parents have perfect vision does not guarantee that a child will also see 20/20. Early identification of vision issues in children is crucial and should start with vision checks at all infant and well-child visits. Before the age of 1 year old (6 months old is suggested) your child should have a thorough eye exam by a vision professional. There are programs, like the InfantSee program that provide for free vision screening for infants by a qualified Optometrist.

Your child's vision should be screened again around age 3 and before entering school. Vision issues can impact your child's school performance academically, socially, and physically. A child who is struggling to see may have problems with reading and writing or act disinterested. A child may seem uncoordinated, klutzy, or appear lazy - when the reality is they need corrective lenses. Some children will need glasses for seatwork and reading (they are farsighted) and others for reading the board or seeing distance (they are nearsighted or myopic). Many children also have a 'hidden' vision issue like Amblyopia, a neurological condition where one eye is doing the work for two. These are just a few of the vision issues that a visit to a trained vision professional, either an Optometrist or Pediatric Ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose. Some signs that your child may be having trouble seeing without you knowing it could be frequent headaches, dizziness, frequent falling and/or tripping - to name a few. Your child may not be able to articulate or let you know that there is a problem with their vision because they do not realize or know that there is any problem. Parents can even find Free Vision assessment tools online to identify areas of concern.

It a misconceived notion that in order to test a child's vision they must be able to read a traditional eye chart with letters on it (the one with the big E at the top). Your child absolutely does not need to be able to read to go to the eye doctor for a full vision screening. If your child isn't yet reading letters they will use of specially developed assessment tools including picture cards and charts. The most popular is the Allen Chart which includes icons of a birthday cake, a bird, a telephone, a hand, and a horse.

For children who are not yet talking nor able to cooperate with a traditional exam, seek out a practice that is employing the latest in vision screening technologies - i.e.: the Enfant Pediatric Vision testing system or the PediaVision Assessment Solution. Both of these technologies are used in vision screening for kids as young as 6 months old and do not rely on a verbal response from the child to accurately measure their visual acuity.

article originally published at Bella Online Vision Issues

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