Having healthy eyes is crucial to your children’s learning and development. However, babies and children may have eye problems like significant refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) misaligned eyes (strabismus), lazy eye and cataracts.
Unlike adults, children can’t tell if they have eye problems. Asian Eye Institute pediatric ophthalmologist and adult strabismus specialist Dr. Norman Fajardo explains: “I have patients who did not know they have an eye problem until they are seen for other reasons, like sore eyes. That is why parents and teachers should be sensitive to or be aware of signs of eye problems.”
It is important to screen children to detect eye problems early on.
“If you notice children receive lower grades than usual, frequently rub their eyes, use a finger to keep track of what they are reading, tilt their head to the side or close one eye when looking at an object, reverse or omit words when reading or writing, then it is high time to schedule them for a comprehensive eye exam,” Fajardo notes.
If the child was born premature, or with a low birth weight, has a family history of eye problems or has developmental issues, it is also advisable to get his eyes checked even if he shows no signs of eye problems.
Comprehensive eye exams are done to evaluate the overall eye health of children, which allows the pediatric eye specialist and the parents to spot and treat or manage any eye problems early.
Contrary to what most people think, children don’t need to know how to read before getting their eyes checked. Asian Eye pediatric eye specialists use specific tests to detect eye problems even in very young children.
“We can ask them to identify pictures or shapes, shine a light to see how the pupil reacts or see the reflection of light in their retina or the back part of the eye, or put drops in their eyes,” explains Fajardo.
It is important to check children’s vision at six months, at three years old and before they start going to school.
“If they do not have eye problems, we recommend to get their eyes checked every two years; but if they do, every year or as recommended,” Fajardo says. “This ensures children have healthy vision to perform better in school, sports or whatever activity they engage in.”
Asian Eye has pediatric specialists in Rockwell Center, TriNoma, SM Mall of Asia, Commercenter Alabang and Santolan Town Plaza. For inquiries and appointments, call 898-2020 or visit www.asianeyeinstitute.com or www.facebook.com/asianeyeinstitute. (Story/Photos by: Charizze Henson)