Pop Magazine

Vision problems: your children’s eye health

5 June 2015

Did you know that 80% of what your child learns and remembers occurs through vision ?

That’s why health care professionals recommend that children as young as two have an eye exam. In fact, many teachers encourage parents to have their children’s eyes examined by an eye care professional at the beginning of the school year; poor or gradual deterioration of eyesight often leads to difficulty concentrating, which can have a negative impact on school performance. Therefore, taking your child to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam is highly recommended.

Vision development in children

The vision of infants begins to develop at birth and continues to do so until the age of three. At birth, visual acuity is approximately 20/400. It progresses to 20/50 by one year of age, and reaches emmetropia, or 20/20 vision between two and three years of age.

Frequent causes of vision problems

Genetic factors play a role in many kinds of eye problems; however, other factors such as premature birth (under 34 weeks), birth weight of less than four pounds, severe disabilities, and congenital cataracts are also associated with a variety of childhood vision conditions.

Symptoms of vision problems

If your child displays one or more of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing distant objects
  • Squinting
  • Confusing letters or difficulty reading
  • Problems distinguishing colours
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Tendency to close one eye
  • Intermittent or consistent misalignment of the eyes

Common eye or vision problems found in children

  • Hyperopia
  • Myopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Strabismus
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Tests used to determine eye health

Eye exams for children are similar to those for adults. They include the following fundamental elements:

Medical history

During an eye examination, the ophthalmologist or optometrist takes note of the child’s main symptoms, family history, any medication that the child takes, and school performance.

Ocular alignment

A test is done to determine if there is sufficient convergence between the two eyes and to rule out any misalignment that could cause a strabismus.

Visual acuity

This test assesses the child’s ability to see objects clearly from far away and up close. The eye care professional uses the Snellen chart, which displays various letters of the alphabet, to measure the child’s visual acuity, by testing one eye at a time and then both eyes together. If the child hasn’t learned to read yet, the eye care professional will use images instead.

Stereoscopic vision

Stereoscopic vision is the ability to perceive depth and relief (i.e. seeing in 3D). A number of tests of stereovision exist, including the polarized “fly” test. With both eyes open, the patient is asked if they perceive the fly in three dimensions. This test serves to assess three aspects of binocular vision:

  • Simultaneous vision: the ability of each eye to perceive an image on its own.
  • Fusion: the brain’s ability to combine the images perceived by each eye into a single image, and thus a single perception.
  • Stereoscopic vision: The perception of the 3-dimensional effect.

Colour vision

The most popular test in this category is the Ishihara test, which tests for red-green colour deficiencies. The test consists of a plate containing a pattern of small, different coloured dots that form a number against a background. Patients are asked to identify the number or shape within the background. The Ishihara test detects the presence of two types of hereditary dyscrhomatopsias (colour blindness): protanopia, which affects the retina and sensitivity to red; and deuteranopia, which affects the optic nerve and sensitivity to green. As this test is relatively simple (all the person has to do is name the number they see) it can be given to children as young as 5 years old.

Eye health

The eye care professional will examine the overall health of the eye by inspecting the structures in the front and back of the eyes to make sure that everything is in perfect health. The pupillary reflex will also be checked to see if it reacts well to light.

Depending on what the professional finds during the exam, other tests may also be conducted.

These tests are not painful at all. During the exam, the eye care professional will record all of the information in the patient’s file and in most cases recommend seeing the child once a year to monitor eye health. In some cases the professional may want to follow up with the patient sooner.

For children 10 years and older:

Some children ten years and older are diagnosed with an eye condition known as keratoconus, which over time leads to blurry or distorted vision. Dr check my source. Michel Pop treats this condition while providing support to parents so that they can also help manage the condition in their children. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on this condition.

In conclusion, it is highly recommended for your child to have routine eye exams because healthy eyes are essential not only for your child’s overall well-being, but also for his or her learning and development.