A Guide to Children's Vision Problems
Early detection of children's vision problems is essential to make sure your kids have the visual skills they need to do well in school, sports and other activities.
Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses. It plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. In fact, experts say 80 percent of what children learn in school is presented visually.
From infancy on, there are important milestones in your child's vision development. For example, during the first several months of life, a baby can focus only on objects up close. Those objects will be seen in high contrast colors only, such as black, white and red.
But by 6 months of age, your child's visual acuity should be much sharper, with more accurate color vision and better eye movement and hand-eye coordination skills.
To make sure your child's eyes are functioning properly and working together as a team during the early formative years, schedule his or her first eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months of age. Otherwise, a lifetime of poor vision in one or both eyes could occur.
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Moving into the preschool and school-age years, parents face a new set of concerns:
- When should my child have his first eye exam?
- What tests should a complete children's eye exam include?
- What if my child requires vision correction?
- Will his vision worsen over time, or improve?
- What type of eyeglasses should my child wear?
- What if he won't wear his glasses? Can he wear contact lenses?
- Is it possible my child has a learning-related vision problem?
- Should I worry about how his computer use is affecting his eyes?
Parents of school-age children should stay informed about vision correction options, such as using contact lenses instead of glasses to control nearsightedness and protective sports eyewear. Ensuring that children wear sunglasses is very important, too. [Learn more about sunglasses for kids.]
For answers to specific questions about your child's vision development, vision problems and eyewear needs, consult an eye doctor who specializes in children's vision.
[Page updated May 2014]