Part 2: So, eye doctors do exams on babies? How does that even work? Why bother?

In this continuation from Part 1 of our two part blog about children's eye exams we talk more about how our eye work together, eye health and how we check these areas out on young children.

We often don’t think about it, but it’s pretty amazing that we don’t see double all the time. Our eyes have to line up perfectly all the time and work together well to allow us to see properly. It’s perhaps not surprising to hear that sometimes the system breaks down. It’s very obvious when someone has a big eye turn in or out and most parents would notice that. What is trickier is when the eye only turns sometimes, only turns when reading or there’s a muscle problem that doesn’t result in any eye turns at all! Many people have a muscle alignment problem that causes a lot of symptoms  but the eyes themselves don’t actually visibly turn in or out when both eyes are open. For a child trying to learn how to read this is a big deal! Kids may skip words, confuse letters, say letters are moving or have any other number of problems that people think is a learning problem but is actually an eye problem. A simple test to confirm the alignment of the eyes, standard on all eye exams, can help to prevent or solve a whole host of problems.

The thing about eyes is we only get two. It’s important to take care of them right from the start. We encourage our kids to take care of their first set of teeth even though they’re going to get more! We want a dentist to make sure they have healthy mouths. If something goes wrong with our eyes we don’t get to have a replacement! The majority of kids are, again, very healthy. Unfortunately though eye health problems in kids are either extremely serious and require early detection and treatment or are very minor like pink eye that just require drops. Most eye cancer, for example, strikes young kids under the age of five. It’s very rare but very serious.  There are many eye diseases that can affect children and by looking inside the eye and out optometrists can detect them early.

80% of learning is visual. I see so many kids that are being treated for attention problems or are getting special tutoring because they’re falling behind in school but their only problem is that they can’t see or their eyes aren’t working together. I don’t know about you, but I would probably act out too if I couldn’t see what was going on all day! Kids 18 and under are 100% covered by Alberta Health Care so you don’t have to pay a dime! You really don’t have an excuse not to bring your kids in and get them checked!

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For more information about children's eye exams check out the links below:

Eye Exams for Infants

Eye Exams for Preschoolers

Eye Exams for School Age Children