Pediatric Optometry / Vision Therapy
We strongly recommends parents have their child's vision and eye health examined every year, starting when the child is around six months old. Early eye exams are particularly essential for detecting problems with eye muscle strength, visual coordination (binocularity), eye/hand coordination and peripheral awareness. These abilities support a child's ability to develop good learning skills before and after entering school. Studies have clearly shown that poor academic performance often correlates with a child's inability to see properly. Unfortunately, pre-school children with undetected vision problems don't even realize they can't see properly because they are unaware of what it's like to see "normally". Unknown vision issues may worsen and make it difficult for the child to succeed in school.
What is a Pediatric Eye Exam?
Common vision problems affecting children are refractive errors such as astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. Easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses (for older children), refractive errors are almost always permanent and may worsen if left untreated. Optometry tests used to detect refractive errors in children include the standard "E" eye chart and identification of familiar images for preschool children.
We will also test your child's:
- Eye tracking and fixation skills
- Binocular/convergence vision
- Ability to distinguish colors (especially reds and greens)
- Ability to detect differences and similarities in distance objects (form discrimination)
To test vision in pre-verbal children, we use charts printed with pictures call LEA symbols (apple, dog, square, teddy bear) that are easily recognizable by young children.
Although many schools offer vision screenings, these screenings are simply limited eye exams that may or may not detect vision/eye health issues in children. In fact, an eye chart is usually the only test given to children during a school vision screening. While helpful, eye charts do not provide the kind of in-depth information necessary for determining clinical health of your child's vision and eyes.
Children older than six or seven may be given one or more of the following vision tests:
- Random Dot Stereopsis--to test how well eyes work together, your eye doctor will give older children a Random Dot Stereopsis test using specific patterns of black dots as seen through 3-D lenses.
- Retinoscopy--by shining a bright light into the eye, your Wausau optometrist can detect refraction abnormalities involving the retina. Children who are nearsighted or farsighted present refraction anomalies that require corrective lenses.
- Astigmatism--specialized, pediatric vision testing tools can help detect astigmatism in young children.
Most children with eye problems can be well served with glasses and/or contact lenses. For some kids though, additional training called, Vision Therapy, will help their eyes work together better and more comfortably. If you suspect that your child may benefit from Vision Therapy, we will work through a standardized questionnaire when you are in the office.
To learn more about pediatric optometry or to schedule an eye exam appointment for your child, please call Rib Mountain Eye Care today at 715-803-2700.