A Child’s Eyes Change Rapidly
Your child is growing and changing every day, and so are their eyes.
The first 6 years are their most vulnerable period, adapting to the big wide world and meeting visual development milestones. You play a crucial role in the early days of your child’s eye care, from encouraging development to watching for symptoms of eye problems.
But vision is only part of the bigger picture.
You might observe symptoms or take note of your child’s complaints, but what does that mean for their vision or ocular health?
Pacific Pier Optometry can help you understand your child’s vision needs. Schedule their comprehensive eye exam today.
Screenings Vs. Eye Exams
Pediatricians and school vision screenings only check visual abilities. Screenings aren’t a thorough test of eye health and development. School vision screenings miss up to 75% of vision problems, and 61% of children diagnosed with eye problems through screenings don’t visit an optometrist.
A comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist is crucial for preventative health care, diagnosing vision problems, and general eye care. Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, checking in with an optometrist ensures nothing is overlooked.
Book an appointment at Pacific Pier Optometry for your child’s eye exam.
How Often Should My Child See an Optometrist?
As the keeper of your child’s social calendar, it can be a lot to balance. Your popular kid doesn’t need to pause all their meetings for regular eye exams.
Check out the guidelines from the American Optometric Association for children’s eye exams:
- First Exam: Between 6–12 months
- Second Exam: Between 3–5 years
- Yearly Eye Exams: Before first grade, then each year until 18
The recommendations are based on low-risk or asymptomatic pediatric patients.
If your child has a family history of ocular conditions, premature or difficult birth, infection during pregnancy, symptoms suggesting eye problems, or other health conditions, we recommend that your child should see an optometrist for eye exams more frequently. Some common symptoms of vision problems include:
- Double vision
- Frequent blinking
- Covering one eye
- Ocular discomfort
- Tilting head to see
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Eye turn (strabismus)
- Fatigue after visual activities
- Difficulty remembering what they’ve read
- Holding reading material too close to their face
- Short attention span (compared to their age group)
- Avoiding near-vision activities (reading, coloring, etc.)
Your child’s eye care can impact their ability to learn, as 80% of learning involves visual pathways. If your child is complaining about their eyes or experiencing other symptoms, visit Pacific Pier Optometry for a children’s eye exam.
Common Eye Conditions in Children
Your child’s eyes are still growing. They experience so much, which can be exciting but also a reason to keep a closer eye on their health.
Whether they need glasses to see the front of the classroom or are experiencing headaches because of eyestrain, visiting an optometrist is an essential piece of their health care.Part of keeping watch over their eye care starts at home. So, in addition to keeping tabs on their vision, here are some common childhood eye diseases and conditions that indicate it’s time to call your optometrist.
Blocked Tear Duct
A blocked tear duct is relatively common in newborns, with 5–10% of babies experiencing the condition. Some symptoms can be easily treated, even at home, but the condition may recur. Blocked tear ducts (nasolacrimal duct obstruction) can be caused by:
- A narrow tear duct system
- Nasal cavity bone blocking the tear duct
- Absence of an opening (lower or upper eyelid)
If your child has a blocked duct, they may experience common symptoms like:
- Watery eyes
- Frequent rubbing (eye area)
- Crusting of eyelashes or eyelids
If untreated, it can lead to infection, which may cause fever, pain, or swelling. Gently cleaning any ocular discharge or crustiness can help. You may also try nasolacrimal massage (gently massaging the between the eye and the corner of the child’s nose) if recommended by your optometrist.
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is swelling or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin tissue covering the white part of your eye and the inner surface of your eyelids. It can be caused by infection, allergies, or chemical irritants.
Treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis. For example, bacterial conjunctivitis may require antibiotic eye drops while allergic conjunctivitis may require antihistamines.
Symptoms of pink eye include:
- Irritation or burning
- Increased tear production
- Discharge (watery or thick)
- Swelling (conjunctiva or eyelids)
- Crusting of eyelids or eyelashes
- Pink or red color in the whites of the eye
- Feeling something in the eye
Strabismus (crossed eyes) is an eye condition where eye direction doesn’t match. The eye turn can be in any direction and can occur all the time or irregularly. Eye alignment helps us with depth perception, and misaligned eyes can reduce visual ability in the affected eye.
If you notice symptoms of strabismus, meet with your optometrist.
Here are additional symptoms to watch for:
- Eyes don’t move together
- Double vision
- Tilting head to see
- Frequent blinking or squinting
- Poor depth perception
Amblyopia (lazy eye) occurs when one or both eyes experience weak vision. Regular comprehensive eye exams are the best method to monitor your child’s ocular health and diagnose development issues early.
Amblyopia has a number of risk factors, including:
- Strabismus (eye turn)
- Refractive errors
- Visual deprivation
- Developmental conditions
- Family history of amblyopia or strabismus
Children’s Eye Exams at Pacific Pier Optometry
We know new experiences can be confusing for kids, but we’re here to make your child’s eye care a little easier. We’re happy to talk about your child’s vision and eye health if you have questions. We offer a softer approach to make your child feel welcome and safe.
Visit our practice, steps away from the beach at Pacific Pier Optometry.
Find Us in Santa Monica
- 1431 7th Street Ste 101
- Santa Monica, CA 90401
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
- Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
- Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
- Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- Sunday: Closed
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