Vision care is extremely important for kids. 80% of all Children use visuals in their learning development and when eyesight is strained or blurry, that can decrease a child's chances of advancement in learning. Quite often, children who have vision problems are misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities when in fact, it is an eye problem which could be remedied with glasses or other simple solutions.

Parents should start taking their children to have vision tests while they are still infants. This should be a routine visit beginning at 6 months, and again at 3 years old as well as right before the child enters school for the first time.

Having these routine visits can be the difference between permanent eye damage and normal healthy vision.

Often, small children cannot verbally let parents know that they are having difficulty seeing. They tend to display vision problems with signs such as performing poorly in school, headaches, problems with reading or writing, not completing homework assignments on time, wanting to stay home from school, and displaying attention span problems. All of these issues can be signs of behaviour or learning disabilities and are quite often overlooked as a vision problem.

Children's Eye Exams Should Always Include:

Eye Inspections - This includes examinations to determine the movement of the muscles in the eye, the eyes as well as the eyelids, and the way that light reflects from the back of the eye to the pupils.

Ophthalmoscope - Eye care examiners will examine the back of the eye in older children.

Light Reflex Tests (Corneal) - The eye examiner will check with a flashlight or penlight to see how light is reflected from the front of the eye (the cornea). While performing the test, the light will be reflected in sharp focus and centred within the pupil on both eyes if the test is normal.

Cover Testing - Cover Testing is performed by having the child stay focused on a particular object. The examiner will cover one eye at a time and will check to ensure that the child's eyes do not move, or shift, during this test. The Cover Testing checks a child's eyes for misalignment.

Age Appropriate Acuity Test - An eye examiner will use a standard eye chart to perform this test.

Basing the test on the age appropriate characters that the child may be able to identify, the examiner will have the child cover one eye at a time to read various lines on the chart, to determine how well the child can see and if further eye care is necessary.

Hazards from Lack of Care

If left unattended by a Medical Professional, a child who has a vision or eye problem can end up with permanent eye damage if left untreated at an early age. Possible problems could result in a child becoming cross eyed, or having a permanent lazy eye. Both of these conditions can affect vision and can lead to more serious eye problems later in life. They can be corrected at an early age by prescribing glasses, patching a lazy eye to help build muscle retention, or even surgery on the eye to help correct the damage before it is too late.

Getting the proper vision and eye treatment for your child is not only beneficial for them now, but can help with potential eye disease and malignancies which if left untreated, can cause serious vision and health problems in the future.

The Benefits of Play

When considering vision and eye care for children, it is also important to address the issues of how children play. Children tend to play more indoors now than in previous years. They want to sit and watch television or play video games either on the television, phone or computer. While many of these video games can be excellent for a child to learn through and for building reflexive skills, they can also cause eye damage in many ways.

As a parent or caregiver, one needs to ensure that while playing games or watching television, the child takes a break from looking at the screen every so often. The general rule of thumb is to have them take a break at least once every ten minutes to give their eyes a rest. Also, sitting in front of the television or video game for long periods can lead to health related problems such as diabetes or obesity. Both of these diseases can lead to severe health issues including permanent blindness. Getting your child interested and involved in outdoor physical activities can not only help them build muscle throughout their body, but it is an excellent way to help build eye muscle as well. Outdoor play helps with preventing near sightedness as well as building distance vision in children.