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It’s that time of year again! Summer is almost over and it’s time to prepare for the school year. This means gathering together pens, pencils, notebooks… and getting physicals! Don’t forget about your child’s eye exam, vision is an important component of learning for kids of all ages.
A child’s eyes and visual system start developing at birth and continue to develop until approximately age 6. Children in this age group are particularly at risk for conditions commonly referred to as a “lazy eye” or more specifically, amblyopia. Amblyopia develops when one eye turns in or out, or when the prescription in one or both eyes is so high that the eye doesn’t develop properly, resulting in blurred vision. A lazy eye is treatable up until the age of 6 or 7, however if left untreated, blurred vision will persist into adulthood.
School aged children, on the other hand, are mostly at risk for developing myopia which is the inability to see fine detail far away. Myopia commonly progresses in this age group as the child grows and their eyes grow. Fortunately, it is easily correctable with glasses or contact lenses.
Having clear vision is an important first step to learning, however, the role of vision in reading and learning can be very complex. Any break down in this process forces your child to direct their energy into visually obtaining the information rather than learning the information.
So how can you make sure your child’s eyes are healthy and seeing properly? American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends periodic vision and ocular health screenings by qualified healthcare professionals (for example your family doctor, pediatrician, optometrist, ophthalmologist or school nurse) starting when a child is a newborn, during infancy, at preschool age and during school years.
If your child:
- fails a vision screening
- has symptoms of blurred vision, difficulty reading or focusing
- has an observed abnormal ocular/visual behavior
- has developmental delays, learning disabilities, behavioral issues
- was born prematurely
- has a family history of congenital eye disease
He or she should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist or optometrist with a comprehensive eye examination.
Going back to school is an exciting time! Norwich Ophthalmology Group is here to give your child clear and comfortable vision so they can have a strong start to the school year.
Written by: Rebecca Kivlin, OD