PREGNANT MAMAS: As a parent to-be you can already make a difference in your child’s eyes! Good prenatal care and nutrition can help your baby’s eyes develop before they are born. Isn’t this neat? :)
BABIES: At birth your child’s eyes should be examined for signs of congenital eye problems. These problems are rare but should be caught early to ensure proper development. The American Optometric Association recommends your child’s first thorough eye exam around 6 months of age. At Edge Optics, Dr. Bryant will look for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Also, eye movement ability and eye health problems will be checked to make sure their vision is normal.
During the first months of life, keep toys within your child’s line of focus, about 8-12 inches from their face. Also, talk to you baby as you walk around the room, alternate right and left sides when feeding, hang a mobile above and outside the crib…these are all great things you can do to work the muscles in the eyes and better their vision at an early age! As your child continues to grow enable him/her to explore different shapes and textures with his/her fingers, play peek-a-book and patty cake. Encourage crawling, and when ready give them stacking and take-apart toys, providing objects they can touch, hold, and see at the same time. These are all AWESOME ways to encourage eye strength!
AGE 1-3: Continue encouraging your child’s exploration with his/her eyes! Taking your child outside as much as possible can possibly decrease their risk for a prescription by strengthening the eye muscles. Children that have spent more time outside have been linked to better vision far away! It makes sense, right?! Also, your child’s eye-hand coordination and depth perception will continue to develop with exercise, games and various toys. Encourage lots of activity and walking! Provide building blocks, simple puzzles and balls. All of these things are great for seeing near and far. You can make a difference parents!
AGE 5 OR 6 (BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS): As long as your child doesn’t complain of headaches or not being able to see --they shouldn’t have to come back for an eye exam until around age 5 or 6 or before they begin school. As your child grows, his/her eyes grow as well! This can produce changes in the prescription each year or even sooner.
AGE 7 AND OLDER: Yearly eye exams are recommended because changes in the eye happen so rapidly! Sometimes Dr. Bryant can see a child without a prescription and 3 months later they will return with considerable differences. Listen to your child if they are feeling uncomfortable at school or playing sports. This could be the culprit!