What to Know About Children’s Eyecare

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Your children are one of the most precious things to you, and making sure their eyes are healthy is a top priority for parents and caregivers. Some parents don’t know that both young children and babies should have comprehensive eye exams to make sure their eyes are working properly and don’t need correction.

Since infants and young children may have vision problems you can’t see, an eye exam by a certified optometrist is the best option. Children respond better to treatment and correction during these developing years as their brain is learning how to use their eyes to see.

What to Know About Children’s Eyecare

Children’s Eyecare & First Eye Exam. A baby should receive their first eye exam between the ages of 6-12 months according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). During this examination an optometrist will check for excessive nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The optometrist will also make sure the eyes move in a coordinated way to rule out Amblyopia, commonly called “lazy eye”. They will also make sure your baby’s eyes aren’t overly sensitive to light, can follow an object’s movements and don’t have other health issues.

A Screening Is Not The Same As An Eye Exam. As your child grows, it’s important that they continue getting eye exams each year or at least at ages 3 and 5 and every year after that. Many preschools give vision screenings that may give parents a false sense of security that their child’s vision is fine. Unfortunately these screenings only assess one or two areas of vision and are really meant to indicate if further testing is necessary. A comprehensive vision exam by an optometrist is the only way to ensure proper diagnosis and care for your child’s eyes.

You Can Help Your Child’s Eyes Develop. As a parent or caregiver there are many things you can do to help your child’s eyes develop properly. The AOA recommends that you use a nightlight in their room as a baby, talk to them as you walk around the room, give them plenty of time to explore on the floor, play patty-cake and hide and seek games with them, and roll a ball back and forth with them as they get older. There are many other recommendations on their site for what to do as they grow.

Infant and Child Glasses Options Are Fun! Glasses have come a long way and recent innovations make them more user friendly and fashionable than ever. Many frames are made of flexible materials that fit children well and come in catchy colors and styles to fit any little face. Several styles also come with a band that goes around your baby or child’s head to keep the glasses on and in place.

At Performance Eyecare we take your child’s vision seriously. We work with you to make sure your infant or child gets the best care possible in a friendly, welcoming environment. Contact us for more information about how we can serve you and your children in the St. Louis, MO, Alton, IL or Swansea, IL areas.

Toy Related Eye Injuries

Each year, children are emitted into the hospital due to eye injuries due to toy relations. Nearly half of these injuries are to the head and face, and many are eye injuries. Toy related injuries are often sustained by children 5 years of age and under.

Online surveys conducted by All About Vision revealed that 41% of parents either hardly or rarely considered eye safety when shopping & selecting toys for their kids. Keep in mind that when these same parents were asked if they thought the toys their kids currently had at home could potentially cause eye damage, 54% of them answered definitely, and 22% said possibly. Injuries to the eyes due to toy mishaps may include scratches to the surface, also known as corneal abrasion; or a more serious injury can occur such as bleeding inside of the eye, traumatic cataracts or corneal ulcers.

As you prepare for Christmas this year, keep in mind these 6 toys that pose a higher risk for eye injury than others, especially is these toys are used without adult supervision and/or assistance

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Silly String, also known as Aerosol String – If this string enters the eye it can cause an irritation or possibly even lead to pink eye due to the chemical in the product.

Toys That Can Cause Harm To The Eye, Performance Eyecare St. Louis, Performance Eyecare Maryland Heights
Children’s Fishing Poles– These can be especially dangerous to other nearby children. These should always be used with adult supervision. Example toys may include Catch of the Day.

Girl in bubble bath, foam
Party foam – This chemical can cause a burn to the eyes that can result in red eyes, blurred vision and eye infection.

 

 

ADHD & Vision Problems

Children Diagnosed with ADHD May Actually Have Vision Problems

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Have you ever considered whether your child’s attention issues are directly related to their vision? Most people would probably answer no to this question, but the American Optometric Association discusses just that in this article; they state that children with the following symptoms may not actually have attention issues or ADHD, but problems with their visual skills:

  • Avoid reading and other near visual work as much as possible.
  • Attempt to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.
  • Experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.

What Signs Should I Look For?

The Center for Disease Control, the CDC, has a checklist dedicated to ADHD and the symptoms that may show in a child who has ADHD. Here are a few of the symptoms. A full list can be found here:

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).

As you can see, the signs of vision problems can mimic the signs of ADHD. Ruling out a potential vision issue may help your child succeed in school because they can get the medical or therapeutic help that they need. On the other hand, if what they need is glasses, we can help with that.

If your child is experiencing any of the above struggles, it’s time to get them in for an eye exam to rule out potential vision problems. Undiagnosed vision issues can lead to your child under-performing in school because they cannot see well enough to complete their work in order to succeed. Because your child’s eye needs can change over time, it’s possible that you are seeing these issues arise for the first time. Catching the problem as early as possible is vital. Children’s eyecare starts with regular examinations to catch potential issues before they hamper a child’s ability to succeed in school.

Performance Eyecare Can Help

At Performance Eyecare, we regularly treat a variety of eye conditions in children. We have offices all around the St. Louis region for your conveinence. Our experienced optometrists can complete your child’s eye exam, diagnose any issues with their vision, and then we can create a pair of custom glasses for your child in our in-office eyeglass laboratory.

Please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our experienced optometrists will be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding children’s eye exams or vision problems and school performance, as well as what makes our eyeglass facility stand out in terms of quality and price. We look forward to hearing from you.

Eye Protection This Halloween

As noted by Kristina Tarczy-Hornoch, M.D., there are several tips parents should be aware of before letting your child roam around for candy.

  1. Don’t wear decorative (non-prescription) contact lenses

This addition to costumes is on the rise, especially amongst teenagers, but it’s causing a major concern for eye doctors.

It’s against the federal law to sell contact lenses in unlicensed outlets such as costume and party stores, but it’s sometimes loosely followed. These decorative lenses may be made from inferior plastic or contain toxic dyes.

Eye infections can become a major concern for those who improperly wear and handle contact lenses. It can rapidly develop into corneal ulcers and possible blindness.

If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, discontinue use of the contact lens immediately. Schedule a visit with a physician sooner rather than later to address any remaining damage.

  1. Only use make-up approved by the FDA on the face and around the eyes

If your child plans on wearing face paint and make-up, please use a hypo-allergenic brand and pay close attention to the label.

When applying make-up near or around the eye, stay away from the lid margin (lash line). If you decide to use make-up close to your eyes, please use only products approved for use in that area such as eye-liner or eye shadow.

Remove the make-up with cold cream instead of soap and water. Rinse your eye with water if make-up gets into it. See an eye care professional as soon as possible if redness or irritation persists.

  1. Avoid swords and other pointed objects on kids’ costumes

We all hear from our kids how they need a sword, knife, spear or wand to complete their costume. It may be tempting, but a serious eye injury can occur if one of those pointed objects hits someone.

If your pirate needs a sword, find a belt carrier where it can stay safely nestled while he or she roams the neighborhood. You should buy or construct only accessories made of soft or flexible materials.

If your child does get poked in the eye, you should inspect it for signs of redness, decreased vision or pain. Eye injuries may be more serious than they appear. You should take your child to the doctor if he or she reports pain or blurred vision or if the eye is discolored or bloodshot.

If you notice irritation in your child’s eyes after Halloween, reach out to our team and we will be happy to help!

Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?

A common question many parents have about contact lenses and kids is: “When is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?”

Physically, your child’s eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. Some babies are fitted with contact lenses due to eye conditions present at birth. And in a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children of ages 8-11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90% had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without assistance from their parents.

A matter of maturity

So the important question is whether or not your child is mature enough to insert, remove and take care of their contact lenses. How they handle other responsibilities at home will give you a clue. If your child has poor grooming habits and needs frequent reminders to perform everyday chores, they may not be ready for the responsibility of wearing and caring for contact lenses. But if they are conscientious and handle these things well, they may be excellent candidates for contact lens wear, regardless of their age.

Contact lenses for sports

Many kids are active in sports. Contact lenses offer several advantages over glasses for these activities. Contacts don’t fog up, get streaked with perspiration or get knocked off like glasses can. They also provide better peripheral vision than glasses, which is important for nearly every sport. There are even contact lenses with special tints to help your child see the ball easier.

For sports, soft contact lenses are usually the best choice. They are larger and fit closer to the eye than rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses, so there’s virtually no chance they will dislodge or get knocked off during competition.

Controlling nearsightedness

If your young son or daughter is nearsighted, rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts may be the best choice. In some cases, GP contact lenses may slow the progression of myopia in children. (Soft lenses don’t offer this potential benefit.) Also, GP lenses are more durable and often provide sharper vision than soft contacts.

Building self-esteem with contact lenses

Contact lenses can do wonders for some children’s self-esteem. Many kids don’t like the way they look in glasses and become overly self-conscious about their appearance because of them. Wearing contact lenses can often elevate how they feel about themselves and improve their self confidence. Sometimes, even their school performance and participation in social activities improves after they switch to contact lenses.

Glasses are still required

If your child chooses to wear contact lenses, they still need an up-to-date pair of eyeglasses. Contact lenses worn on a daily basis should be removed at least an hour before bedtime to allow the eyes to “breathe.” Also, there will be times when your child may want to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses. And contact lenses should be removed immediately any time they cause discomfort or eye redness.

Don’t push contacts on your kids

Motivation is often the most important factor in determining whether your son or daughter will be a successful contact lens wearer. If you wear contact lenses yourself and love them, that still doesn’t mean they are the right choice for your child. Some children like wearing glasses and have no desire wear contact lenses.

We can usually tell at your child’s contact lens consultation if they really want to wear contact lenses. If it appears that they would rather stay in glasses, we will certainly respect their decision – and you should, too.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Often, a child may feel they don’t want contacts, but a year or two later, they do. There’s always time to make that decision.

When your child is ready to try contacts

When you and your child agree it’s time for contacts, call our office to schedule a contact lens consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help kids of all ages enjoy wearing contact lenses.

For more information on whether contact lenses might be a good fit for your child, schedule an appointment with our team today!

Get Ready for School with a Trip To Performance Eyecare

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends each child has an eye exam prior to starting kindergarten. All children in Illinois are required to have an eye exam prior to kindergarten.

Did you know that 30 percent of learning disorders are caused by visual problems? According to Gary Heiting, OD of AllAboutVision.com, five to ten percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. The key to getting your child off to the right start is early detection of vision issues. This is important because children are more likely to be responsive to treatment than adults.

The AOA recommends school-aged children with no vision correction should have an eye exam every two years. Those children with eyeglasses or contacts need to have an annual eye exam, or as recommended by their optometrist.

How Does Good Vision Help My Child in School?

Good eyesight is critical to learning, because children rely heavily on sign and touch to explore the world around them. They use skills such as near vision, distance vision, binocular coordination, eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness and hand-eye coordination.

Your family doctor or pediatrician will likely be the first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes. If eye problems are detected, a referral to an eye doctor is likely to happen.

It’s important to choose a time when he or she is usually wide awake and happy! At Performance Eyecare we have a kid-friendly office with a kid’s corner complete with an African animal mural and toys. We understand children can be anxious when going to any doctor so we try to make it as relaxing and enjoyable as possible for them.

To schedule your child’s appointment, find your local office and select your appointment time here!

For more information on why vision matters when kids go back to school, check out the original article: http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/children.htm

Eye Safety Month Encouraging Parents to Protect Their Children’s Sight

Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month

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With the new school year right around the corner, parents are busily preparing their children to head back to school. In between all the enrollment forms, doctor checkups, and back-to-school shopping, you might not even think to schedule an eye exam for your children. But now is the perfect time! Not only can a child’s academic performance suffer due to untreated vision problems. Serious eye problems can also lead to health complications or even blindness.

Why Does My Child Need Regular Exams?

Because most eye problems are invisible or produce vague symptoms, it’s important that children receive an annual eye exam. Your child’s pediatrician can examine their eyes during regularly scheduled appointments. However, regular vision testing should be conducted starting when a child is about three years old. Regular eye exams can not only catch physiological eye problems that show outward signs. They can also help catch refractive vision errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) while they are still easily corrected.  If your child is diagnosed with an eye problem, their pediatrician can refer you to an eye health professional who can provide them with the appropriate treatment.

When it comes to your child’s vision health, you shouldn’t only worry about physiological disorders. According to Prevent Blindness, 125,000 eye injuries are caused by common household products every year, and a sports-related eye injury is treated in an emergency room every 13 minutes.  Because these injuries can result in permanent blindness, it’s important to ensure your children’s eyes are protected.  Around the house, secure hazardous objects and chemicals which can cause serious harm if children were to get into them. If your children are active in sports or other outdoor activities, make sure they wear the appropriate protective eye-wear to guard against injury.

Before sending your kids off on the school bus this year, remember that August is Children’s Eye & Safety Month. This is a great time to schedule an appointment to have their eyes checked!  At Performance Eyecare, our highly trained optometry staff is able to assist you and your child with everything from vision exams to glasses and contact lenses.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.