Q: At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?
A: Eye exams for children should start between 6mos-1 year old. There is a nation-wide program called InfantSee (http://www.infantsee.org/) where participating providers offer a FREE eye exam to children in this age group to make sure the eyes are developing properly. If there are no issues detected, an exam at 3 and 5 years old is sufficient to make sure the eyes are still developing properly for preschool and kindergarten. Since babies and toddlers have no way of knowing if what they see is “normal” and “clear” or not, having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure their eyes and vision is developing properly. Any ocular issues are best addressed sooner rather than later because 80% of learning takes place through vision in kids!
Q: What is Vision Therapy?
A: Vision therapy is an individualized treatment plan prescribed by a Doctor of Optometry. It is used to treat eye conditions, such as strabismus (eye turn) or amblyopia (“lazy eye”). Through Vision Therapy, a Doctor of Optometry also teaches, improves and/or reinforces important visual skills, such as eye tracking, eye focusing and eye teaming abilities. Without these visual skills, simple tasks like reading or copying notes from the board become difficult. Skipping words or lines while reading, using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, eyestrain and/or eye fatigue are also common symptoms.
Q: How do I know Vision Therapy is right for my child?
A: If your child displays symptoms of strabismus (eye turn), amblyopia (“lazy eye”), skipping words or lines while reading, using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, eyestrain and/or eye fatigue, it is suggested your child has a complete eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry. If symptoms persist or the Doctor of Optometry recommends Vision Therapy, then a Vision Therapy assessment is the next step. The doctor will perform a thorough one-on-one assessment and will determine which conditions are present, whether Vision Therapy is suitable, the type of eye exercises required and the number of sessions needed.