When taking a closer look at the percentages surrounding childhood vision impairment, the statistics may be surprising.
- Some 60% of students identified as problem learners have undetected vision troubles.
- An estimated 80% of what we learn is through our vision.
- A whopping 85% of America’s pre-schoolers haven’t undergone a comprehensive vision exam by age 5.
The good news is that annual eye exams can protect your child’s vision, his/ her overall health and education. For these reasons, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends eye exams (not just vision screenings) before your baby can walk.
The first comprehensive eye exam should be given by a Doctor of Optometry or Ophthalmology between 6-12 months of age. If your child has an unremarkable exam, it should be repeated at ages 3, 6 and every year while in school.
However, it is important to consider the vision needs of both the general child population, and those with special needs. The incidence of refractive errors and strabismus increase dramatically in children with Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy or those born premature.
Sticking to a regimen of early eye exams can help determine if your child needs a prescription to see clearly, if they lack binocular vision (the ability for their eyes to work together and obtain depth perception) or early detection of eye diseases such as congenital cataracts, glaucoma or ocular tumors.
Preventative eye care is one way we can assure that children have the best quality of life and have all the advantages they need right from the start. Do you have a child with vision impairments? What have been the positive effects of meeting their vision needs?
Dr. Amy Jankowski is founder, CEO and Doctor of Optometry at Metro Eye, a multi-specialty practice focusing on the vision and eye-health needs of patients from young professionals to families. Her practice is based in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.
“Kids’ Vision.” Think About Your Eyes. www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com>