Children are not born with a fully developed visual system, but rather, it is a learned skill during early developmental stages. Just like learning to walk and talk, babies learn visual skills such as focusing their eyes, moving them accurately, and using them together as a team. Part of this vision development is the ability to gather and interpret the information that the child sees. This allows children to understand the world around them and appropriately interact with it.
It takes several years and many milestones for the function of the visual system to become fully operational and efficient. Parents play an important role in ensuring that their child's eyes and vision can develop properly.
Having your child’s vision monitored by a Developmental Optometrist provides parents with the most comprehensive assessment of the child’s visual development beginning at infancy and throughout childhood. There are many activities, games, and toys that parents can use to help encourage efficient vision development in their children. Our doctors can provide guidance based on age level.
A child’s visual system provides information and stimulation important for their overall development even before they learn to reach and grab with their hands or crawl and sit-up. Therefore, undiagnosed vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays. It is important to detect any vision problems in early developmental stages to ensure the child has proper intervention and support, as early as possible, to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn.
As the child continues to grow, exploring space and the world around them is a critical component to normal development of the focusing and tracking systems. These skills will be extremely important for a child’s school readiness and their ability to learn.
With expanding interests in near work activities and preparation for preschool, parents should schedule the child’s vision exam to ensure skills necessary for school readiness are developing properly. It is important to keep in mind that vision screening done at school or by a pediatrician does not replace these comprehensive eye exams done by a Developmental Optometrists.
It is important to note that gross and fine motor delays can impact visual motor development (or vice versa). Some children have a hard time meeting gross motor milestones because they may have an uncorrected refractive error or difficulty with their eye teaming that is impeding clear and single vision.
Specialized lenses can help improve visual function at even the youngest age, which in turn improves gross motor skills. Parents should not delay visiting a Developmental Optometrist if the child is in Early Intervention (EI) program or is needing Occupational/Physical therapy (OT/PT) services or parents are simply concerned about their child’s development.
This functional vision exam assesses for all types of visual deficits in children of all ages who may have a previous vision-related diagnoses or whose parents/guardians have a concern with their performance.
This exam type can also be uniquely tailored for the Special Needs population and nonverbal children of any age or range of sensory delays.
Our doctors and clinical team collaborate with the patient’s outside care team to provide therapy modifications and enhancements that improve overall child’s development.
This type of vision assessment is for children 6 to 12 months of age and is done at no cost to the patient.
This exam is considered the standard of care for examining the developing visual skills at this age.
It can identify and prevent serious eye diseases and conditions therefore preserve visual health and abilities.
Whether the child is experiencing vision-related symptoms or not, all children should have their second eye exam by at least the age of 3.
With increased interest in near work activities at this age, this is a key time to flag for any delayed visual skills.
At this age, children may not even be aware that their vision is weak, or they may assume that any vision deficiency they have is normal.
The child does not need to recognize letters or numbers to successfully complete the exam. Our doctors are skilled at identifying deficits in visual skills even if the patient is a pre-reader or is not able to articulate that there is a problem.
Children entering Kindergarten, or a new school system, are required to have a comprehensive eye exam. Children should also have an exam yearly, thereafter.
Our primary eyecare exams check for visual acuity, visual function and eye health, color vision, and asks for recommendations for school. Learn more about how primary eyecare exams done by our doctors are unique.
Our doctors are screening all children for a potential of developing myopia (nearsightedness) during every visit to ensure proper intervention and treatment can be done in a timely manner.
Pediatric specialty exams are an important part of a young child’s assessment of overall development, especially between the ages of 0 to 4. For school age children who experience symptoms of vision deficits, a Functional Vision Exam may be required which is a more advanced, in-depth assessment. Results of these assessments also allow for collaboration with other therapies and interventions.
Treatment may include specialty, advanced prescription lenses. Our office offers one of the widest selections of infant, toddler, children’s and youth frames in the area.
Many young patients may require and benefit from in-office Vision Therapy to develop optimal vision skills required for efficient reading and learning. Learn more about our Vision Therapy services.
When visual deficiencies are improved or even eliminated, the patient experiences improvements in behavior, school performance and overall physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This often translates to improvements in other therapy interventions as well.
The right vision exam can make all the difference.