|Members & Consumers||text size: large extra-large|
|Home >> Members & Consumers >> Your Child's Eyes: Get Them Checked Early and Often|
Your Child's Eyes: Get Them Checked Early and Often
Vision experts say children should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age. Despite that recommendation, more than 85 percent of America's 20 million children age 5 and under have never had an eye exam, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.
For eyecare doctors like VSP network doctor Nick Brattis, O.D., that high percentage is unfortunate — given that most childhood eye exams can be performed quickly and accurately. And it's so easy to make an appointment with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. "I've been examining children's eyes for more than 27 years," says the veteran optometrist from Casper, Wyoming, "and I've seen many situations in which diagnosing and treating an eye disorder early in life provided a positive outcome for the child involved."
Dr. Brattis recalls treating one 2-year-old child some 20 years ago. "When I first examined little Miles back in the mid-1980s, I found significant 'lazy eye' (lack of focusing control in one eye, or amblyopia). I prescribed some aggressive therapy in which the child wore a patch over one eye to make the 'lazy eye' stronger. "Miles and his family did a very good job on the therapy, and guess what? That young man is 22 now and he has 20/25 vision. It was a very rewarding experience for an optometrist to see this patient change from being legally blind in one eye at age 2 to having excellent vision as an adult." Dr. Brattis recommends that parents schedule eye exams for their children at three important points during their early development:
Says Dr. Brattis: "The great thing about early exams is that we can often start working on problems before they interfere significantly with the child's eyesight — and especially with learning and development!"
Author: Tom Nugent,
Last Reviewed: September, 2005