Healthy eyes and good vision play a critical role in how infants and children learn to see.
Babies learn to see over a period of time, much like they learn to walk and talk. They are not born with all the visual abilities they need in life. The ability to focus their eyes, move them accurately, and use them together as a team must be learned. Also, they need to learn how to use the visual information the eyes send to their brain in order to understand the world around them and interact with it appropriately.
From birth, babies begin exploring the wonders in the world with their eyes. Even before they learn to reach and grab with their hands or crawl and sit-up, their eyes are providing information and stimulation important for their development.
Eye and vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays. It is important to detect any problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn. Parents play an important role in helping to assure their child's eyes and vision can develop properly.
Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, at about age 6 months, you should take your baby to a doctor of optometry for his or her first thorough eye examination. Your doctor of optometry will test for many things, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism as well as eye movement ability and eye alignment. Your doctor will also check the overall health of the eyes. Eye health problems are not common, but if present early detection and treatment offer the best option.
InfantSEE ® managed by Optometry Cares ®—The AOA Foundation is the American Optometric Association's public health program designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child's quality of life. Under this program, participating doctors of optometry provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service.
Dr. Davis is a participating doctor of the InfantSEE program, please contact us or visit the InfantSEE website to learn more and to schedule your infant's comprehensive eye assessment.
A child needs many abilities to succeed in school and good vision is key. Reading, writing, chalkboard work and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.
As children progress throughout their education, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities. The size of print in textbooks becomes smaller and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly. Increased workload and homework place significant demands on the child's eyes and children depend on their vision to function properly so they can learn efficiently and excel.
Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many basic visual skills beyond seeing clearly that are important to supporting academic success.
Other visual perceptual skills include:
If any of these visual skills are lacking or not functioning properly, a child will have to work harder to learn as effectively. Students who struggle with a learning-related vision problem may experience headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. Parents and teachers need to be alert for symptoms that may indicate a child has a vision problem.
A comprehensive eye examination is as essential for back-to-school success as supplies for learning.