A child’s vision may change frequently during the school year without the student or parent noticing. Vision includes a child’s eyesight, the need for a prescription as well as visual skills such as focusing, eye coordination, fine eye movements and more. Academic success requires many different moving parts, and one of these important but often overlooked aspects is vision.
Take this FBISD school holiday on Friday to have your child’s eyes checked especially if he/she shows some of the following symptoms: avoidance of reading, excessive rubbing or blinking of eyes, short attention span, headaches, loses place often while reading, difficulty remembering what has just been read, holding materials too closely, words seem to move on the page, seeing double, uses finger to maintain place while reading, reads very slowly, skips or omits words when reading, poor reading comprehension, print appears to go in and out of focus, eyes hurt or feel tired after only a few minutes of reading, makes errors while copying, crooked or poorly spaced writing, feels unusually tired after reading, re-reads words or sentences, unusual head posture when reading or doing near-work, eyes become watery or red when reading.
Pediatricians play a vital role in the management of eye conditions in children. However, some young children can be difficult to assess because of their lack of compliance while some conditions are just difficult to diagnose in a pediatrician’s office. The eight most commonly missed eye disorders in a primary care physician setting are: amblyopia, eye trauma, glaucoma, ocular inflammation, leukocoria, systemic disorders that affect the eye, small-angle strabismus and subtle nystagmus. The visual outcomes of these disorders can be maximized through early detection and proper subsequent treatment. If you suspect that your child may have one of these conditions, contact us.
The amount of time spent outdoors in daylight is also a risk factor for developing, and worsening, nearsightedness. Depending on the amount of time spent in daylight, you may be subjecting yourself to low, medium or high risk of myopia.
Yet another reason to try to slow down how quickly nearsightedness increases is the risk of retinal detachments. Myopia, or nearsightedness, increases the risk of a retinal detachment by 4X-16X’s; the higher the prescription, the higher the risk. The retina is the tissue in the back of the eye that contains all of the nerves, cells and blood vessels that help you see. Surgery can be performed for retinal detachments. However, clinical studies show that patients who have had retinal detachment surgery complain about lower quality of life afterwards. In other words, the surgery was physically successful. However, the patients still suffered decreased quality of life due to visual difficulties afterwards.
Another reason to slow down the progression of nearsightedness is the increased risk of glaucoma. Nearsightedness, or myopia, increases the risk of glaucoma by 4x’s. Glaucoma slowly kills the nerves in the eyes, and is a leading cause of blindness. If someone develops glaucoma, he won’t even notice any changes in how he sees until 30%-50% of the nerves have already died.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of childhood vision loss. Proper diagnosis of the type of amblyopia is crucial for prognosis and treatment. Oftentimes, the first step in treating amblyopia is glasses. However, some children will not accept the prescription initially because of how their visual system is locked into working. Appropriate identification and medicinal management of these children to improve their acceptance of the treatment is vital in overcoming amblyopia.
If a child passes vision screenings with only the bare minimum requirement of 20/30 eyesight, then there will be long-range consequences. For example, the child’s reaction speed on the road once they start driving would be 16x’s slower than what it would have been had they developed 20/20 eyesight. Vision screenings are important, and seeing 20/30 is pretty good. However, seeing 20/20 is even better, and an actual eye exam can help your child develop the optimal eyesight that they need in life.
Passing a vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office only requires 20/30 eyesight at distance. If a child never develops better than 20/30 eyesight, then the student will have a difficult time comfortably seeing 8th grade level text later. Vision screenings are important, but actual eye exams are more thorough and even more important. More on this later.
One of the common concerns for children’s glasses is whether the glasses will fit properly. Because kids’ faces are not just miniature grown-up faces, many frames will slide off or become misaligned easily. An ill-fitting pair of glasses can adversely affect vision and even breathing patterns because of the shape of children’s noses. Since a child’s nose and cheeks change as he grows, a pair of glasses will need to be able to change with him for the proper fit and performance. A common misconception amongst parents is that they should order a pair of frames that are a little bigger so that the child can grow into it. However, this will only add to the poor fit because the larger size will cause the glasses to slip and misalign easily. A child needs a child-specific pair of frames rather than a down-sized adult frame. We have the solution with custom-fit frames for your child.