Posts Tagged ‘childhood eye exams’

Learn About Child Vision Development

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Child and Pediatric Care, Eye Health, Vision Therapy

Child Vision Development Levin Eye Care Center

Did you know that babies have to learn how to see?

It might seem strange, since using our eyes is something we do automatically all day, but babies need to develop a number of visual skills in order to effectively use their eyes and process what they’re seeing, just like they have to learn how to walk and talk. Parents can be a big help to the child vision development process, particularly by choosing age-appropriate toys.

What a Baby Sees in the First Six Months

An infant’s world is made up of light, shadow, and blurry shapes. They can only effectively focus on things 8-15 inches away — coincidentally the perfect distance to see the face of the person holding them! Over time, they begin to see things more clearly and sharply, and parents can help in several ways:

  • Fill their surroundings with color. It takes a few weeks before a baby’s color vision starts to develop, and once it does, they won’t be able to get enough of bright, pretty colors. That’s why they enjoy mobiles.
  • Help them get used to tracking movement with their eyes by moving objects in front of them.
  • Play peek-a-boo. This isn’t only to make them laugh (even though that already makes it worth doing); it’s a great way of giving them practice focusing their eyes.

The Dramatic Progress in Months 6-12

Hand-eye coordination begins to develop around month six, and parents can help by keeping Baby well supplied with colorful objects to grab and play with. Crawling also helps them learn coordination (which does sometimes come at the price of some bumps on the noggin, since they haven’t learned that their heads don’t stop at their eyes yet).

Months 6-12 are when your baby will get bored of peek-a-boo. The reason they love peek-a-boo so much in the early months is that they don’t understand object permanence yet, so it looks like magic to them, but eventually they figure out the trick: Mom and Dad aren’t blinking out of existence when they’re out of sight, they’re just hiding behind their hands! At this point, you can change the game and start hiding toys under a blanket and challenging them to find them.

Toddlerhood and Advanced Visual Skills

Toddlers gain a lot of coordination when they learn to walk, and playing with balls helps too. Comprehension and balance are big factors in a toddler’s visual skills. When they begin talking, they start putting names to the objects they see, and around age two, they might discover burgeoning artistic talent. Make sure they have access to paper and crayons! Big, interlocking blocks or wooden blocks are also great for toddlers.

Early Childhood Eye Exams

As important as it is to provide the right types of toys and play the right games with your baby, eye exams are critical to the child vision development process. Babies and toddlers lack the words and understanding to communicate to us if something is wrong with their eyesight, so more than anyone else, they need an eye doctor to check for them. This is why we recommend scheduling the first eye exam at six months and another around their third birthday.

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Are Your Child’s Eyes Crossing Frequently?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Child and Pediatric Care, Eye Health, Vision Therapy

Child’s Eyes Cross

Do you ever notice your child’s eyes crossing or moving in different directions?

Just as babies slowly learn to walk and talk, they must also learn how to see and correctly use their eyes to experience the world around them. Learning to focus their eyes, move them and use them together accurately is a process that takes place over time during infancy and childhood.

Crossing Eyes Are Normal In A Newborn

A common question we hear from parents is, “My baby’s eyes cross sometimes and move in different directions. What does it mean?” Since a baby’s visual system isn’t fully developed until later in childhood, it is normal for their eyes to cross or wander occasionally during the first few months of life. This should stop, however, after four months of age.

 

Past Four Months, It May Be Strabismus

If you notice that your child’s eyes crossing or turning in different directions most of the time or beyond the age of four months, they may have strabismus. Strabismus is an eye condition in which both eyes don’t look at the same place at the same time. It can occur in one or both eyes, be constant or occur intermittently, and can be present from birth or develop later, most often by the age of three.

Strabismus can be caused by a number of things. The problem may occur in the muscles around the eye, the part of the brain that directs eye movements, or the nerves that transmit information to the eye muscles. Certain health conditions such as down syndrome and cerebral palsy may make a child more likely to develop strabismus.

Early Treatment Is Important

Strabismus can cause double vision and interferes with a person’s ability to perceive depth. Some people may think that their child will outgrow strabismus, but this is untrue. In fact, if strabismus is left untreated, it can progress to amblyopia, or lazy eye.

When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images. If left untreated, the brain will eventually ignore the image from the turned or crossed eye, permanently reducing vision in that eye. This is when amblyopia occurs.

The good news is that strabismus, if treated early, can be corrected with much success. Treatment options include:

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Prism lenses
  • Vision therapy
  • Eye muscle surgery

Eye Exams Are Crucial To Your Child’s Vision Health

Infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months. During their exam, we ensure that your child’s eyes are developing and working together properly. If you notice your child’s eyes crossing, frequently turning or wandering before they are six months old, call us and set up an appointment. It’s never too early to make sure that your child’s vision is healthy!

Thank you for trusting us with your family’s vision health!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.