About Children’s Vision
About 80 percent of all babies are born farsighted —
able to see objects clearly at a distance but less clearly close up.
Some five percent are born nearsighted, or unable to see objects at a distance clearly.
Approximately 15 percent of babies are born with nothing wrong with the refractive parts of the eye — the cornea and crystalline lens which bend light and focus it properly on the retina. Farsightedness usually decreases as a child ages, typically normalizing to a negligible value by the age of 7-8.
After a child grows and the incidence of farsightedness decreases, that of nearsightedness increases. Many school-age children and teens first discover they are nearsighted when they have difficulty reading the writing on the board at school. Nearsightedness usually occurs before age 25.
Has your child had a comprehensive eye examination? Book your child’s eye exam today. Find an optometrist in your community.
Recommended Frequency of Eye Exams
Birth – 2 years
Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months
2 – 5 years
Preschool children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years
6 – 19 years
School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo an eye examination annually
20 – 39 years
Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years
40 – 64 years
Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years
Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually
Vision Skills for Schools
Your school-age child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities can suffer.
Good vision involves many different skills working together to enable your child not only to see clearly but also to understand what he or she sees.
- Near Vision
Ability to see clearly and comfortably at 13-16 inches, the distance of school desk work.
- Distance Vision
Ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10 feet or more.
- Binocular Coordination
Ability to use the two eyes together.
- Eye Movement Skills
Ability to aim the eyes accurately and move them smoothly across a page quickly and accurately.
- Peripheral Awareness
Awareness of things to the side while looking straight ahead.
- Eye/Hand Coordination
Ability to use the eyes and hands together.
If any of these or other vision skills is lacking or not functioning properly, your child’s eyes have to work harder, causing blurred vision, headaches or fatigue. Regular vision exams can uncover these problems early so that your child’s learning and reading enjoyment is not affected.
So how can you tell if your child has vision problems that could affect their learning? Here are a few things to watch for:
- Loses his or her place while reading.
- Avoids close work.
- Holds reading material closer than normal.
- Tends to rub his or her eyes.
- Has headaches.
- Turns or tilts their head to use one eye only.
- Makes reversals when reading or writing.
- Uses a finger to maintain their place while reading.
- Omits or confuses small words when reading.
- Performs below potential.
- Closes one eye while reading.
Because a change in vision can occur without you or your child realizing it, have your child’s eyes examined every year, including:
- A review of your child’s health and vision history.
- Tests for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, color perception, lazy eye, crossed-eyes, eye coordination, depth perception and focusing ability.
- An eye health examination.
You can take small but important steps to help protect your child’s eyesight, including:
- Make sure your child’s homework area is evenly lighted and free from glare.
- Furniture should be the right size for proper posture.
- During periods of close concentration, have your child take periodic breaks. Rest breaks are also recommended when your child is using a computer or playing video games.
- While viewing a screen, be sure the room has overall soft lighting.
- Place the device to avoid glare and reflections on the screen.
- Screens should be at a distance at least five times the width of the screen.
- Be sure your child’s hours away from school include time for exercise and creative play. Both can help keep his or her vision skills functioning properly.
Vision Care & Vision Assistance
Get your child involved in caring for their eyes. Set a good example and teach them good eye protection habits, such as:
- Keep away from the targets of darts, bows and arrows, air guns, and missile-throwing toys.
- Don’t shine laser pointers into anyone’s eyes. Teach them laser pointers are not toys.
- Don’t run with or throw sharp objects.
- Wear safety goggles when using chemistry sets, power tools, and household and yard chemicals. (Note: Be certain your child is mature enough to handle these items safely, and provide proper supervision.)
Your family eye doctor may prescribe glasses, contact lenses or vision therapy, or recommend preventive measures, such as mild prescription lenses to be worn only when doing schoolwork or watching television. These may help relieve stress on your child’s eyes. Vision therapy is prescribed for conditions that cannot adequately be treated with glasses or contact lenses alone. By reinforcing or re-teaching vision skills, conditions such as poor eye coordination and movement, lazy eye, and perceptual problems can be improved. Your care and concern for your child’s vision can enrich his or her future while helping develop eye care habits for a lifetime of good vision.