Updated: Dec 1, 2020
One of the 'giants' in our profession once stated that "No profession has the opportunity to make a bigger difference in a child's life than an Optometrist doing his/her job properly."
Dr. Leo Manas was stating this because of the pervasive role your eyes play in everyday life, including school, work, sports and pretty much everything else which requires movement.
So if an Optometrist can make such a difference in someone's life, when should you start getting tested for vision problems?
Just think about this:
Do you really know if your child is using one eye or both eyes?
Just because the eyes may look like they move together, doesn't mean their brain is making full use of them at the same time.
Your child is likely not going to tell you if they have trouble seeing. They will often think... "isn't that how everyone else sees?"
It might shock you to know (because we eye doctors haven't done a very good job of teaching the public), but we generally recommend a comprehensive eye exam at six months of age.
Six months is an important age in visual development.
This is the age when:
Stereopsis (3D vision) should be developed
Eyes begin to line up consistently (if not already)
Eye tracking skills develop
Color vision should be normal
Visual acuity should be close to adult level
It's also an age when Strabismus or Amblyopia (i.e. "lazy eye") starts to show up.
If your child is past that age, don't worry, just bring them in. The earlier they start the better.
At their eye exam, our Bellingham based Optometrist, Dr. Peter Charron will check your child's eye health, visual acuity, binocular vision, and determine if their visual skills like eye tracking and eye hand coordination are developing properly.
Vision problems affect learning because most information is taken in through the eyes.
Vision Problems also affect motor development, because your eyes tell the body what to do.
Kids with vision problems are starting their lives off with a big disadvantage because of the big role vision plays in almost everything.
Get your child's eyes tested at a reputable eye clinic at 6 months if you can.