Pediatric Vision Care in Des Plaines, IL
What is Pediatric Vision Care?
Pediatric vision care is an essential part of preventive health care for children. Early identification of vision problems is crucial because children often respond more favorably to treatment in the early stages of vision development. Parents are encouraged to schedule comprehensive eye exams at 6 months old, 3 years old, and upon entering kindergarten. Children should also receive annual care every year throughout their school years.
Today, parents face challenges in protecting their children's eye health because of the abundance of environmental stressors—the most common of which include television, video games, computers and tablet/smartphone use. In addition to annual exams, pediatric vision care involves introducing healthy habits that help children preserve healthy eyes throughout their lives. Parents have the ability to set limits on technology-based activities by promoting outdoor activities that stimulate physical development and ensure long-term vison health.
Eye Development and Warning Signs
In the first few weeks of development, infants can only see objects that are 8 to 10 inches away from their faces, and distance vision continues to develop in the early months. By two months, visual coordination and depth perception begin to develop, giving infants the ability to track and follow moving objects. As vision continues to improve during early developmental stages, children begin to develop:
- Visual acuity: The acuity, or sharpness, of a child's vision is largely dependent upon refractive status—whether the patient has blurry vision or not—and overall eye health.
- Visual efficiency skills: Whether or not the child can focus and track objects with his or her eyes.
- Visual information processing: The ability for the child to recognize and discriminate visual stimuli and to interpret them correctly based upon previous experience.
When children reach grade school, undetected eye problems are sometimes misdiagnosed as learning disabilities. Although many schools conduct basic eye screenings, they tend to be rudimentary and should not be used as a substitute for ophthalmic eye exams. It's also important to know when ophthalmic intervention is needed. The most common warning signs found in children with vision disorders include:
- Sitting too close to the television or multimedia devices
- Losing his or her place when reading
- Crossed or “lazy” eyes
- Frequent headaches
- Excessive blinking
What is a Pediatric Eye Exam?
A comprehensive pediatric ophthalmic exam involves a series of noninvasive vision tests, comprehensive ocular evaluations and eye health assessments. For infants younger than 12 months old, an initial eye exam is typically performed by a pediatrician or a family doctor. It is only when these physicians believe there is a potential problem that an ophthalmologist is referred. When children get older and their cognitive skills become more developed, the physician will introduce more in-depth testing that uses the child's input to determine eye health. Some of these programs use charts with symbols—like an apple or a house—to evaluate the child's eyesight.
Pediatric vision exams begin with a comprehensive review of family and personal vision history—parents are encouraged to share as much information as possible to help form an accurate portrait of the patient's risk factors. Visual acuity is also measured and an ocular examination is performed to identify possible refractive errors, childhood glaucoma and various other conditions, including:
- Amblyopia: Sometimes called lazy eye, this condition occurs when visual acuity is much better in one eye than the other. It is typically treated with prescription glasses that need to be worn consistently.
- Ptosis: This condition occurs in a child whose upper eyelid droops slightly. Surgical intervention is often necessary to reverse the effects of this condition, although treatment with patching, glasses or eye drops may be sufficient.
- Cloudy eyes: If the surface of the eye appears cloudy, the child may have a cataract that needs immediate intervention. Treatment typically involves a surgical procedure that removes the cloudy part of the lens.
- Strabismus: Also known as crossed or turned eye, this condition causes eyes to become misaligned. Treatment depends on the cause of the misalignment, but it can usually be treated with corrective glasses, or, in more serious situations, eye muscle surgery.
Vision examinations should start early in life and continue throughout a child's school years. Appropriate vision care at an early age is vital to giving your child the clear vision he or she needs to perform well in school. Just as you would take a child for regular wellness physicals, parents should also be scheduling comprehensive eye exams.
Call (847) 824-3127 or contact The Midwest Center for Sight online for more information about pediatric vision care.
The Midwest Center for Sight
Address8901 West Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm