Two years ago I had my first child, Alex, and seven months ago my daughter, Anna. For someone who was always healthy, I never saw much of my healthcare providers. Once I had my little ones I found myself going to see our family doctor for their regular wellness checks, our health clinic for their vaccinations, our dentist for their dental wellness checks and of course, to our optometry clinic for their infant visual examination.
We routinely attend library time, swimming lessons, Strong Start and countless other toddler/infant activities. Through these activities I have met a wonderful network of mothers. In talking with mothers of young children I was astounded to learn that the majority are not aware that their children should be having routine eye examinations. Current guidelines recommend infants have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age and annually thereafter.
Mothers are definitely not negligent about getting their babies eyes checked, they simply don’t know they should be doing it! So why are infant eye examinations so important? Babies are able to see as soon as they are born. For vision to continue to develop properly, children need clear input from both eyes to the brain. If there is a problem that interferes with vision in either eye or both, the connections from the eye to the brain can become weak or not develop properly. Crossed or turned eyes or imbalance in the way each eye focuses can interfere with normal vision development. If a visual imbalance is not corrected at an early age, it may cause permanent visual compromise. Vision screening offered by family doctors and the school district are a great tool in detecting certain eye conditions but a full examination of visual function and ocular health by an optometrist provides a much better indication of overall eye health.
One of the most common comments I hear is “My child sees well so why do I need to have their eyes checked?”. Well, statistically 2%-5% of children have one eye that does not see as well as the other eye. Since one eye continues to see well, the child may appear to function fully under binocular viewing conditions. As the child grows they will usually not complain of a vision problem as they have no point of comparison, and will accept their vision as normal because they do not know any differently.
At iSight Optometry we are fully equipped to test all ages of patients. We can quite accurately determine whether a child is nearsighted, farsighted or has astigmatism using a special light which is shone into the eye. We also examine how the eyes work together, checking if there is any eye turn (strabismus). We occasionally do need to use drops to check your little ones eyes however this is on a case-by-case basis. As your child gets older, we start to include further refined testing including stereopsis (3-D testing), color vision and binocular vision tests.
Our office makes children’s exams fun. They will get to watch a movie as we examine their eyes, and our electronic eye chart allows us to use pictures instead of letters for younger ages. Should your child need glasses, we have one of the largest selections of children’s glasses in the Okanagan. We also know that little ones can be hard on their glasses so we also offer a “No Matter What Guarantee” on both the frames and lenses at no additional charge!
To book an examination for your child, call our office at 250-860-2020.