10 Signs Your Child May Need an Eye Exam

I will never forget a mother that came in to get her sonís eyes checked before kindergarten started just as a precaution. Her little boy covered one eye and demonstrated he saw well out of the right eye. He covered the other eye, and could barely see anything on the chart. ďOh, this is my bad eye,Ē said the boy. His mom was in shock. He seemed to see fine and had never complained of poor eyesight.

Children with poor vision might not complain, and may even pass a vision screening. They do not have another pair of eyes to compare and so children assume everyone sees the way they do. They simply cope the best way they can. As they grow up, uncorrected vision can lead to irreversible vision problems.

At least 25% of children (one in four) in Georgia will go back to school this fall with an undetected vision problem that can interfere with learning. Since 80% of a childís early learning comes from the visual system, itís important to bring them in for routine eye exams.

Here are ten signs that might be seen in a child with vision difficulties:

1. Squinting, closing or covering one eye
2. Avoidance of reading by misbehaving
3. Losing his/her place while reading
4. Complaints of headaches or dizziness
5. Watching TV closely
6. Tilting or turning the head to one side
7. An eye that wanders after the age of 1
8. Using a finger as a guide while reading
9. Grades are suffering
10. Rubbing eyes frequently

If you see these signs, this child should be seen right away by an eyecare professional.

I recommend every child have their eyes examined by an eyecare specialist once a year starting at the age of two years old. Each child is checked for visual problems and eye health problems such as glaucoma and amblyopia. Amblyopia (lazy eye) is the leading cause of blindness in children, yet it is treatable if caught before the age of 4-5 years old. Please tell your doctor about any eye complaints and what you have observed.
Dr. Kim Raharja, OD is the Clinical Director of Atlanta Eye Center, llc, an office run by independent optometrists inside Wal-Mart Vision Center. They routinely see children as young as 6 months old for visual development and eye health exams. Dr. Raharja also performs eye exams and vision screenings at health fairs, schools and daycares. Please call them to schedule an appointment with one of their talented doctors. Atlanta Eye Center accepts Medicaid, Peach State, Amerigroup, Wellcare, Spectera, Avesis, UHC, BCBS PPO and many other medical and vision insurance plans.

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