PEDIATRIC/CHILDREN'S EYE EXAM
Our doctors are experienced in treating children of all ages. We are able to examine children as young as 6 months old!
According to the American Optometric Association, it is recommended that children have an eye exam by 6 months old, between the ages of 1 to 3 years old, and then annually as needed.
Why is a pediatric eye exam important?
It is important for children to have an eye exam in order to diagnose any uncorrected refractive error (nearsightedness/myopia, farsightedness/hyperopia, and astigmatism). It is also important to assess their focusing abilities, binocular vision, and ocular health. Vision is crucial to development in children. It is important to diagnose and treat any weaknesses in the eyes early to prevent amblyopia.
What is amblyopia?
The connection between the eye and the brain develops during childhood. Amblyopia occurs when the brain favors one eye over the other due to a difference in clarity between the two eyes. If the cause of amblyopia is not diagnosed and treated early, decreased vision in the amblyopic eye will be permanent. There are 3 main types of amblyopia: strabismic amblyopia, refractive amblyopia, or deprivation amblyopia.
Strabismic amblyopia is caused when one eye is aligned and the other eye is turned. Strabismus occurs when there is weakness in the eye muscles that are responsible for eye movement. Strabismus causes the eye to be turned inward, outward, or upward. It is important to find the cause of strabismus. Strabismus can occur due to true weakness in the eye muscles' ability to align the eyes or it can be due to the eye muscles’ attempt at overcompensating to clear up blurred vision. The treatment needed to correct strabismus is different depending on the primary cause. It is important to diagnose the cause early in childhood so that the brain doesn’t begin to ignore the strabismic eye.
Refractive amblyopia occurs when one eye has a greater amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism compared to the other eye. When there is a large difference in clarity between the two eyes, the brain will favor the eye that sees clearer or has less of a prescription. Glasses will need to be worn full time in children with refractive amblyopia to strengthen communication between both eyes and the brain. In some cases, additional patch therapy may be considered. The doctors will evaluate your child and discuss the best treatment options!
Deprivation amblyopia occurs when something is blocking visual stimulation to the eye. Common causes of deprivation amblyopia include congenital cataracts and ptosis (drooping) of the eyelid. A referral to a pediatric surgeon for surgical intervention is often required in this case. After surgery, close monitoring in your child’s visual development will be important.