In the previous blog, we discussed tips on ways to help your child’s eyes develop properly from four months to two years old. Talking to your child as you walk around, hanging a mobile from his or her crib, giving them different objects to hold, and encouraging them to walk in order to perceive depth will help their eyes to grow strong and healthy. Taking your child to a pediatric optometrist will also ensure that any health problems are caught early. If glasses are needed, your child can grow accustomed to wearing glasses and are still able to learn everything they need to to have successful years in school.
During toddler years, vision skills are strong but are still continuing to grow. Learning how to see can be challenging, but also fun with the correct tools and toys for your child to play with. At this age, children will continue to develop hand-eye and body-eye coordination and then visual motor skills necessary in order to learn how to read.
There are things a parent can watch out for when a child is playing that can be related to vision problems. If you notice your toddler has difficulty with playing ball, riding a bike, or if they avoid playing with puzzles, coloring books, or other detailed and eyesight related activities; these could be signs they have a vision problem. There are also activities that can help your child continue to develop their vision.
- Read aloud to your child in order for them to follow along and see what you are reading.
- Let them play on a chalkboard, with finger paints, or various shaped blocks that will aid in your child’s imagination.
- Give them time to explore on a playground with objects to climb on, or a balance beam to walk on.
- Let them interact with other children as well as time to play independently.
After your baby’s first appointment with an eye doctor at six months old, the next appointment should be around age three. This appointment with an optometrist will make sure that your toddler’s eyes and vision are developing as they should and that there are no signs of disease. If there are vision problems, your eye doctor can prescribe glasses or vision therapy to correct problems and to help them from becoming worse. When scheduling an appointment with an optometrist, here are some tips to make sure the trip is successful and painless for your toddler.
- Set the appointment around your toddler’s schedule, making sure they are well-rested and well- fed.
- Tell your child that they are going to visit an eye doctor and let them ask questions so they can be as prepared as possible.
- Talk to your little one about the equipment using words like flashlights and kaleidoscope so they are better able to understand.
As a parent, you have surely heard stories of a child sitting through lessons in a classroom, unable to see what is being written by the teacher and important information is missed. Being able to see correctly, either with good vision or with the help of glasses, can ensure a student is getting all of the information they need to learn. Here are some skills that are important for a child that is entering his or her school years.
- They can see clearly close up, from 10-13 inches.
- They can see clearly far away, from the length of an arm and beyond.
- A child can use both eyes together.
- The eye has the ability to move and aim accurately. A child’s eyes can move across a page and shift focus from one object to another without difficulty.
- They can focus with both eyes on objects that are far away and close up and can change focus quickly.
- There is peripheral site, the ability to see objects and be aware of things to the side while looking straight ahead.
- There is proper hand-eye coordination.
Being aware of these skills will help you and your child’s teacher to recognize if there are vision problems. Your child should visit an optometrist every two years, or more if certain issues arise. Look for these signs from your child as they could mean they have an issue with their eyesight and may need help from a pediatric eye doctor.
- They lose their place while reading.
- They hold books closer to their eyes than normal.
- They leave out or confuse smaller words while reading.
- They have frequent headaches.
- They frequently rub their eyes.
- They turn or tilt their head to use only one eye.
From an early age, a child’s eyesight is essential to many different aspects of a his or her development, including hand-eye coordination, learning depth perception, learning different shapes, and learning how to use their eyes in order to move around, explore, and learn the world around them. Let your child play with objects and puzzles, give them an environment they can discover by using their hands and eyes and learn the signs that are clues to a child having difficulty with their eyesight. Most importantly, schedule regular appointments with a pediatric optometrist at Vision Care Centre. Regular school eye exams can detect some problems, but a thorough eye exam that a doctor will give can detect diseases and more serious problems. If your child does have an issue with their eyesight, glasses will ensure that they have the best opportunity for learning throughout their school years. Contact Vision Care Centre today for the most comprehensive eye exam for your child.