Pediatric Eye Exam
Children eye exams are just as important as adult eye exams, if not more. A child's visual system is still in the early stages of development for a large majority of an adolescents life. The risk for the development of amblyopia or a lazy eye is greatest at these ages. In many cases even if the child appears to be seeing well, the child could still have prescription or an eye turn. The best way prevent your child from vision loss, is to schedule a full comprehensive eye exam. The American Optometric Association recommends a child’s first exam at six months and every year there after. In Kentucky it is required to get an eye exam before entering preschool/kindergarten. Many schools & programs perform vision screenings which is not a substitute for an eye exam by an eye care provider. A screening typically only checks for dramatic eye turns and visual acuity, but not for a prescription or ocular health.
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can occur when a person does not use both eyes together.
Lazy eye often occurs in people who have crossed eyes (misalignment) or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before age 6, and it does not affect side (peripheral) vision.
Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side. Symptoms are not always obvious.
Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision therapy and eye patching. In vision therapy, patients learn how to use the two eyes together, which helps prevent lazy eye from reoccurring.
Early diagnosis increases the chance for a complete recovery. This is one reason the American Optometric Association recommends that children have a comprehensive optometric examination by 6 months of age and again at age 3.
Lazy eye will not go away on its own. If not diagnosed until the preteen, teen or adult years, treatment takes longer and is often less effective.