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Infant and Children & Vision « optometryonhydepark.com

INFANT AND CHILDREN’S VISION
Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially, and athletically. High-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential! As a parent, make sure you are giving your children the eye care they need.

INFANT VISION
infant02
One of the greatest moments in life is when your newborn opens their eyes and makes eye contact with you!

The eye develops remarkably fast. During the first four months of life, your infant will develop the abiltiy to see colours and your baby should begin to follow moving objects with the eyes and start to reach for things, first by chance and later more accurately, as hand-eye coordination and depth perception begin to develop.

To help stimulate your infant’s vision, decorate the room with bright, cheerful and contrasting colours. Change the crib’s position frequently and your child’s position in it; keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby’s focus, about eight to twelve inches from his eyes; talk to your baby as you walk around the room; alternate right and left sides with each feeding; and hang a mobile above and outside the crib.

Don’t be too concerned if your baby’s eyes sometimes don’t appear to be working together as a team early on. This is normal. However, if you see a consistant alignment issues, contact your eye doctor right away. Also seek optometric care if there are infections or watering of the eyes.

Between four and eight months, your baby should begin to turn from side to side and use his or her arms and legs. Eye movement and eye/body coordination skills should develop further.

Your baby will be stimulated by exploring different shapes and textures with his or her fingers and crawling and exploring. Start to play “peek-a-boo” type games with your baby.

An infant screening performed by an optometrist is recommended between the 7th and 9th month to assess the health of the eyes, the developing coordination of the eyes and the shape and equality of growth between the two eyes.

Colour vision and visual acuity is almost the same as an adult’s by this time.

From eight to twelve months, your baby should become mobile, crawling and pulling himself or herself up. He or she will begin to use both eyes together to judge distances and grasp and throw objects with greater precision. To support development do not encourage early walking – crawling is important in developing eye-hand-foot-body coordination; give your baby stacking and take-apart toys; and provide objects your baby can touch, hold and see at the same time.

From one to two years, your child’s eye-hand coordination and depth perception will continue to develop. This is an important developmental period for your child. At this stage, infants are developing a better awareness of their overall body and are learning how to coordinate their vision with their body movements. Things you can do are to encourage walking; to provide building blocks, simple puzzles and balls; and to provide opportunities to climb and explore indoors and out.

PRE-SCHOOL VISION
infant03During the infant and toddler years, your child has been developing many vision skills and has been learning how to see. In the preschool years, this process continues, as your child develops visually guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills, and the visual motor skills necessary to learn to read.

As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem, including a short attention span for the child’s age; frequently rubbing of the eyes, difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination in ball play and bike riding; avoidance of coloring and puzzles and other detailed activities.

There are everyday things that you can do at home to help your preschooler’s vision develop as it should. These activities include reading aloud to your child and letting him or her see what you are reading; providing a chalkboard, finger paints and different shaped blocks and showing your child how to use them in imaginative play; providing safe opportunities to use playground equipment such as a jungle gym and balance beam; and allowing time for interacting with other children and for playing independently.

By age three, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure your preschooler’s vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct a vision development problem.

Here are several tips to make your child’s optometric examination a positive experience:

  1. Make an appointment early in the day. Allow about one hour.
  2. Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child’s questions.
  3. Explain the examination in your child’s terms, comparing the Eye chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and a kaleidoscope.

 
SCHOOL AGE VISION
infant04A good education for your child necessitates good vision. Your child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play – 80% of learning is visual . So when his or her visual system is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer.

Some of the basic vision skills needed for school use are:

  • Near Vision. The ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
  • Distance Vision. The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach.
  • Binocular coordination. The ability to use both eyes together.
  • Eye movement skills. The ability to aim the eyes accurately, move them smoothly across a page and shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another.
  • Focusing skills. The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and the ability to change focus quickly.
  • Peripheral awareness. The ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead.
  • Eye/hand coordination. The ability to use the eyes and hands together.

 
If any of these or other vision skills is lacking or does not function properly, your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other eyestrain problems. As a parent, be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. Be sure to tell your optometrist if your child frequently:

  • Loses his place while readings
  • Avoids close work
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Tends to rub his eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential

 
Since vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the optometrist yearly. If needed, the doctor can prescribe treatment including eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision therapy.

Remember, a paediatrician or a school vision screening is not a substitute for a thorough eye examination.

RECOMMENDED LINKS
Eye See Eye Learn
All About Vision