I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for the American Optometric Association. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Glasses?
From the time he was able to walk, my son was always sitting right on top of the television. As a first time mom though, I had no idea this was not normal and I just figured it was something kids just do. It wasn’t until my daughter was born and walking that I realized that something was just not right with my son’s eyes. When he got a little bit older and started playing on things like my tablet or his LeapPad, he was only inches away from the screen. When he played video games, he was still right on top of the TV. I couldn’t understand how he could even see what he was doing being so close. Then it hit me — he couldn’t!!!
Of course, there were many other indicators. After spending thousands of dollars on occupational therapy for fine motor skill delays, it was clear after the fact that it was because he was never able to see well. He couldn’t catch a ball, he couldn’t ride any bike, his handwriting was awful and he could not put letters together to form a simple word like his own name. It was frustrating because I saw other children able to do these things at his age and I wondered why he could not. He was frustrated too! I figured his teachers would tell me if they saw a problem. Not a word was ever said to me.
Finally, in the fall of 2013, I couldn’t put it off anymore. His pediatrician had recommended the OT and while I agreed, I also asked a referral to an eye doctor. Upon the first visit, the doctor said it was clear he had a weak eye. I knew it before she even said it based on the exam. He couldn’t read letters I knew he knew. We started off with patching the good eye for one hour a day to strengthen his weak eye. It was like pulling teeth to get him to wear that thing. No reward made it easier. We went back in December and the eye had gotten no better. I was crushed. So was my son. He couldn’t understand WHY. He had done what he was supposed to do and wore his patch. It was devastating and I felt horrible. We left the office with a script for a pair of eye glasses.
On December 31, 2013 he put his glasses on and he was finally able to see the world around him.
Within a month, he graduated from OT. The therapist agreed that the glasses had made a huge difference for him. We also started a new preschool, as I was rather confused why trained professionals never saw that my son was struggling and needed some help.
He was able to sit on the couch and watch TV with me. He didn’t need to sit on top of his electronic devices anymore. He was able to form words and letters and have proper spacing. He was able to play soccer and ball with is friends. I found him climbing at the park. This summer, he finally learned to ride his bike, he jumped off the diving board and passed his swim test and can catch & hit a baseball. It’s astounding.
BE YOUR CHILD’S BEST ADVOCATE!
The American Optometric Association believes that because of the increase use of technology at home and in the classroom, parents drastically underestimate the number of hours a day their children are on digital devices. About 83% of children between the ages 10-17 are on these devices for more than 3 hours a day! 80% of children interviewed, experienced Digital Eye Strain burning, itching, and tired eyes after using digital devices for an extended period of time.
Optometrists are become more concerned about how the light from digital devices affect our eyes. Some ideas they have provided to protect your child’s eyes are:
- Take frequent visual breaks,
- Children should practice the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look at something 20 feet away,
- Check the height & position of your device: Computer screens should be 4-5 inches below eye level and 20-28 inches away from your eyes. Digital devices should be below eye level.
- Check the glare on your screen: Consider adjusting the brightness on your screen, Windows or light sources should not be directly visible.
- Adjust your font size,
- Keep blinking
The AOA recommends every child should have an eye exam by an optometrist after 6 months of age and before 3 and every year after.
Did you know? Children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Act, through age 18.
Back to school can be a very busy time with getting everything ready for school and the end of summer. How do you ensure your kids are healthy & ready for the school year? Do they get annual eye exams?
Be sure to follow the AOA for more information on your child’s eye health:
My youngest daughter who will turn 5 next month has spent her entire life as a very clumsy child. It made no sense to me though because her fine motor skills are stellar and she is very meticulous with anything she does.
She recently started complaining a lot about getting headaches. And while she has always been a difficult child, her behavior has been out of control of late. In September, I thought it was time to get an eye exam due to our family history. The eye doctor let me know that she was farsighted. When you are born, newborns measure around a 5 and as you grow, it lessens. My daughter had an exam at the age of 6 months because I thought she was cross eyed (turned out to be the shape of her nose). At that exam, she had measured about a 2. In September, she was back at around a 4.
The doctor said to come back in 6 months to check it again and if needed, we’d do glasses. Well, things had been getting much worse. Her behavior was unbearable, she was falling and walking into things. It was like she was standing one minute and the next she was on the ground. I also noticed that she had a hard time going down stairs or getting off of chairs. I called the doctor back after barely 4 months. She did a recheck and her farsightedness was no better, so a prescription for glasses it was!
She’s had the glasses for 2 days now and she hasn’t fallen once. When she took off her glasses to get ready for bed, she walked right into the wall! Ugh! She hasn’t had any headaches and her behavior is like something I have never seen before! It’s wonderful!