Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kids need eye exams too

When does a child need their first eye exam? According to Pediatric Ophthalmologist Dr. John Simon, there is no set age.

Most pediatricians screen children for eye problems, but parents should also be aware.

"Parents will come in when a child's eyes who are not straight. The parents will say, well, it didn't seem to be very bad, it didn't turn too far. It didn't turn too often, so we thought it was normal. It's not normal to have eyes that are not straight,” Dr. Simon said.

There are two types of eye doctors. An ophthalmologist attends medical school and performs internships and a residency at a hospital. Optometrists go to school after college. They are a doctor of optometry.

When to start eye exams for kids
When does a child need their first eye exam? Marcie Fraser has more.

“The biggest difference between ophthalmologist and optometrists is we are trained to do surgery and in most cases, optometry does not do surgery. We have more of an orientation in our training to do medical treatment; they have more of an orientation to do glasses and contact lens," Dr. Simon said.

Some of the tests include a basic vision test, an acuity test, a test for depth perception and color deficiency.

“Color deficiencies are quite common, especially in male children and one in twelve boys are color blind,” Dr. Simon said.

During the exam, eyes are also dilated to further evaluate the health of the eye.

There are a few myths. According to Dr. Simon, if you think your child's eyes will be affected by sitting too closely to the television, you’re wrong.

"Many children like to sit close to the TV set. Many parents spend a lot of effort dragging them back from the TV set. It is not necessary to do this. The TV will not hurt the children’s eyes," Dr. Simon said.

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