Children are very different from adults and for this reason they have special needs. We have a dedicated pediatric ophthalmologist trained at Sankara Nethralaya. Examining children needs special skills and doctor will use many toys to aid in that process. For the benefit of our kids we have a children’s play area which make them less cranky while they wait in the hospital. Also we have mothers feeding room and baby friendly toilets. Pediatric ophthalmology is an important aspect of ophthalmology because most of us who wear glasses know that we have been wearing them since a young age.
The fact that your child doesn’t complain about his eyesight may be lulling you into a false sense of security. There is a possibility that his vision isn’t as good as you think it is. Quite likely your child will never say anything since he may well have been seeing the same way all his life, even if its blurred, double or thorough only one eye. Without any point of comparison, he has no way of knowing that what he sees should be any different.
It’s never too early for an eye exam especially if you suspect that your child has an eye or vision problem. Eye doctors can conduct an eye exam long before a child can talk, so get your babies eyes checked early if you suspect an eye or vision problem. In most situations diagnosing and treating an eye disorder early in life provides a positive outcome for the child.
Parents should schedule eye exams for their children at three important points during their early development –
- When the infant is about 6 months old. During this initial check, the Pediatric Ophthalmologist makes sure the eyes are working well together and that they are free of rarely occurring but significant defects.
- Between the ages of 2 and 3, before the child enters pre-school. During this eye exam the doctor looks for signs of developmental disorders including “lazy eye,” crossed eyes (strabismus), near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism – which trigger difficulties in focusing. If the doctor finds an irregularity, effective therapies can usually begin immediately, often sparing the child from wearing corrective devices (such as an eye patch) during later years.
- Before the child enters kindergarten. At this point, the eye doctor tests for sharpness of vision and corrects deficiencies by prescribing glasses.
The great thing about an early eye exam is that we can often start working on problems before they interfere significantly with the child’s eye sight.
Infants should visit an eye doctor if they have:
- Poor focus on objects after 3 months of age.
- Eyes those are not straight.
- An eyelid that is droopy.
- A family history of serious eye problems.
- A watery eye with overflow tearing.
Children should have an eye examination if they:
- Have a red eye with or without discharge.
- Squint their eyes to read or see small objects.
- Complain of blurred distant vision.
- Blink their eyes excessively.
- Complain of headaches or double vision.
Before you Visit us with your child.
All children, even those with no signs of trouble, should have their eyes checked at regular intervals. Any child who experiences vision problems or shows symptoms of eye trouble should receive a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist.
If you are planning to take your child to the eye doctor, here are few helpful tips:
- Schedule the trip when the child is not likely to be sleepy or hungry. If your child has a “cranky” time of day, schedule around it.
- Make a list of your questions and bring it with you. Take notes when speaking to the doctor, so that you can refer to them later.
- Have a plan ready in case you need to spend time in the waiting area. Bring a favorite story book, coloring book or a small toy that your child can play with quietly. A snack can also help to pass time.
- Let your child watch a family member get an eye exam. Have a doctor explain what is being done, step by step, and encourage the child to ask questions.
- Bring your child’s favorite cuddly toy. The doctor can “examine” the bear or doll and holding a toy may keep little hands off of expensive equipment.
- Relax. Children look to adults for cues; if you seem nervous, your child may become anxious. A trip to the eye doctor should be fun for both of you.