My name is Dr. Laura Hartman and I have been focusing my career on taking care of the kids in our growing community since 2008. I would like to share my personal story on why early eye exams for children are so important. I saw my son the first time around 8 months of age and he passed with no concerns. I brought him back at 3 years of age even though he had no visual complaints and I had not noticed any signs of problems. At this exam I found he had an astigmatism in one eye that needed correcting to prevent vision loss and avoid possible patching in later years. By early intervention and correcting the problem at this age it was easy to get him accustomed to wearing his glasses all the time. When people now ask me what age should their child get an exam, I share his story and explain the importance of early exams for babies and toddlers. Vision is more than just seeing, vision helps with the development of eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, and the visual motor skills required for reading. If you think of it from a toddlers perspective, they have nothing to compare their visual world, and if everything has always been blurry, that would be normal to them. It’s my job to help them see as clear as possible, even if they do not have the skills to communicate.
Recognize the SIGNS
Trouble seeing up-close or reading the chalkboard, poor grades, headaches, watery or red eyes, and excessive blinking or rubbing of the eyes may be signs that your child needs vision correction. It is always easier to rule out issues with an eye exam. Talk with Dr. Hartman about your concern and let her help your child with their vision needs.
Words parents should know:
Myopia or near-sightedness: makes it hard for a child to see objects far away.
Hyperopia or far-sightedness: makes it difficult for a child to see up-close objects.
Astigmatism: a condition that causes blurred vision or trouble seeing fine details.
Eye Development Issues that when caught early can get better, when not treated can lead to permanent problems or vision loss.
1. Strabismus or crossed eyes: occurs when the eye muscles fail to work together. Half of the children who have it are born with it.
2. Amblyopia: (also known as “lazy eye”) With amblyopia, misalignment or focusing issues cause one eye to be dominant, and the other to become weak or even blind.