Thursday, September 25, 2014

Does Your Toddler Need Glasses?

Toddlers wearing glasses look adorable, but the cuteness can cause problems. Many children who are still getting used to glasses find wearing them brings unwanted and unrelenting attention. Some people may even accuse parents of putting fake glasses on their children to be trendy.

Glasses have a serious function, though, and sometimes they are crucial to normal development of a child's vision and brain. Eyeglasses can fix more than near or farsightedness and may address common conditions such as amblyopia, or "lazy eye," and eye misalignment. Sometimes doctors require children to wear an eye patch to teach the brain to use vision stimulation from the weaker eye rather than ignore it.
Moving fast to detect eyesight issues is crucial, doctors say, because correcting a child's vision early can help curb permanent damage.
"The brain is like cement hardening—you can't mold and shape it as easily the older children get," says Geoffrey Bradford, a professor of pediatric ophthalmology at West Virginia University School of Medicine and a member of the executive committee for ophthalmology for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The pediatrics group recommends that vision screening begin at age 3 during the annual check-up with a pediatrician. At every well-child appointment before age 3, including at birth, doctors typically look for irregularities in the eyes and ask whether parents have any vision concerns, Dr. Bradford says.
Patients who have a family history of eye problems, or who exhibit symptoms such as eyes crossing, drooping eyelids or infections, should seek earlier attention.
Meanwhile, the American Optometric Association recommends that all babies be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist between the ages of six and 12 months, and annually after that.

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