At What Age Should My Child See An Eye Doctor?

first eye examA common question that parents ask is: What age should my child first see an eye doctor?

Hampton Roads Eye Associates has an answer that is fairly straightforward.

Initial Exam:

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child have a  first comprehensive eye exam at their 6 month checkup. This exam will generally be performed by the pediatrician at their checkup. The main objective will be to see if the child is following objects and observing the environment in a normal manner for their age and development.

Next Exams:

Additional eye exams are recommended at age 3 and then again before entering Kindergarten or 1st grade, which is generally between ages 5 and 6.

This is because eyesight is essential for students to be able to learn appropriately as they enter their primary school years.

There are a variety of conditions that could keep children from learning properly during their years in primary school, including:

  • near vision problems
  • distance vision problems
  • a lack of binocular (two eye) coordination
  • a lack of eye movement and following skills
  • a lack of eye focusing skills
  • a lack of peripheral awareness
  • a lack of hand-eye coordination

Schools have required an eye exam for all students entering school for the first time to screen out any vision problems that may exist and inhibit their learning.

What Are the Findings of These Initial Exams?

These eye exams at ages 3 and then again at 5-6 are finding that about 10-15% of school-aged children have some sort of vision issue.

Most of these issues are easily fixed by prescribing corrective eyewear that is determined by your child’s individual needs.  Rarely, a child needs corrective surgery for a vision issue, which would be performed after diagnosis and other, less invasive treatment is attempted.

Tell Your Eye Doctor the Following:

While most eye exams are pretty self-explanatory, be sure to tell your doctor about anything specific that may affect your child’s vision exam.

The following are some key factors your eye doctor may need to know to help provide your child with the best quality eye exam possible:

  • a history of a premature birth
  • any sort of delayed motor development
  • frequent eye rubbing
  • excessive blinking
  • failure to maintain appropriate eye contact
  • inability to maintain a gaze (fixation) while studying or looking at a specific object
  • any poor eye tracking skills you observed

These can all be signs of other problems that your child may be developing with their vision. Our doctors use this information along with the results of their eye exams to determine if issues exist with your child’s vision.

Also, Remember:

Regular eye exams ensure that any issues your child is having with their vision are corrected immediately before these issues impact their ability to function and learn appropriately. Routine eye exams are meant to detect problems and treat them so your child has the best chance to excel in the future.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child, contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point at  (757) 643-8800.  Our pediatric specialists are specially trained to detect and treat vision issues in children.

 

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

AMD-Awareness-logoAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center part of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision. According to Prevent Blindness (formerly Prevent Blindness America), over 2 million adults over the age of 50 in the US suffer from AMD,

Fortunately, an AMD diagnosis does not have to signal the end to independence. With some adjustments and a little assistance, AMD can be managed and independence can be maintained for many patients. It is awareness that can make a difference; that is why regular eye exams are so important. Visiting your eye doctor regularly and being mindful of symptoms can help your doctor discover and treat the disease early – a key factor in preserving as much vision as possible.

Education is an important step in fighting Age-Related Macular Degeneration. That’s why February has been deemed National AMD Month. At Hampton Roads Eye Associates it is our goal to educate our patients about the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options for AMD.

The risk factors of AMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking, as well as genetic factors such as age, family history and race. Symptoms include blurred vision, blind spots and straight lines appearing wavy.

There are medical, surgical and other treatments for AMD, and our Retinal and Low Vision Specialists are available at Hampton Roads Eye Associates to help you remain independent and maximize your vision. Learn more about the different treatment options for AMD on our website.

The single best thing any of us can do to protect ourselves from the AMD is to have an annual eye exam. If you haven’t already scheduled an exam for 2014, you can do so by calling us at 757.643.8800, or you can schedule an appointment online.

Tips for Healthy Vision in the New Year

eye glasses and eye chartA New Year means new goals! Your vision is a critical part of your health that often gets neglected. Consider getting your vision back on track this year by making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. At Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point, we provide general ophthalmology and eye disease treatment for adult and pediatric patients. We perform diagnostic and treatment procedures on children and adults including:

  • cataract surgeries
  • refractive surgery
  • cosmetic surgery
  • glaucoma testing
  • strabismus treatment
  • retina imaging
  • eye problems diagnosis and treatment
  • corrective lens services

How Hampton Roads Eye Associates Can Help
We offer comprehensive eye care services to the Hampton Roads community. In the meantime, you can take care of your vision by following these tips for maintaining good eye health.

Eat for good vision. Start incorporating healthy foods in your diet that will reduce your risk of obesity related diseases such as diabetes – which can adversely affect vision.

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices

Quit smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage. Your overall health is greatly improved when you stop smoking.

Take frequent breaks from staring at the computer screen. Staring at the computer screen for long amounts of time can cause the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes

If you have extensive computer related work, it is important for maintaining good eye health to incorporate frequent “eye” breaks into your day.

Wear Sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Too much exposure to sunlight can cause cataracts as well as macular degeneration.

Visit your eye doctor. It is never too late to get your vision back on track! Schedule a complete eye exam with your doctor today to get a baseline for your eye health. This makes diagnosing and treating all eye conditions more effective.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point looks forward to helping you maintain healthy vision in the new year. Call our office today for your yearly eye exam 757.643.8800.