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The Importance of Eye Exams For Children

children 20in 20black 20and 20white 20coatsChildhood is an extremely sensitive time when it comes to a person's healthy development, which is why it is extremely important for children to receive proper eyecare from as early an age as possible. This ensures that everything having to do with a child's overall visual health is monitored and is developing correctly. It also helps to diagnose and treat any problems that may be found before they worsen or lead to more serious complications. Many parents are unaware that a number of sight threatening conditions may begin to show symptoms even while a child is still an infant and become much harder to correct the longer they go untreated. Dr. Jennifer Martino of Martino EyeCare in San Antonio,  Texas says, “Around the age of 6 months, a child should be brought in for his or her first eye exam. From there, a child should have comprehensive eye exams at least every year to be sure development of the visual system continues normally.”


Strabismus is an extremely common eye condition that can cause a great deal of harm if not detected and treated in early childhood.


In Strabismus the eyes are misaligned as a result of muscles that control eye movements being misaligned or underdeveloped.  In healthy, properly aligned eyes, essentially the same image is seen by both eyes, with only small differences, and the brain interprets these two different perspectives into a single image. This process is known as Binocular Fusion. Due to the misalignment of the eyes, strabismus causes the eyes to send completely different images, creating a situation in which the brain is unable to reconcile the differences, and binocular fusion becomes impossible. If not treated promptly, strabismus can eventually cause the brain to react to the confusion by eliminating images coming from one of the eyes. This can cause a condition called amblyopia, popularly known as “lazy eye.” This condition causes very poor sight in one eye because that eye failed to develop healthy sight during the person's development.


A child's success in school also relies heavily upon enjoying proper vision. Eye exams focused on preparing your child for school will involve checks for conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and will make sure that your child has essential skills for educational success, such as eye movement skills, peripheral awareness and hand-eye coordination.


Contact Dr. Martino today for more information, and to schedule your child's comprehensive eye exam.