As parents, we do what ever is necessary to make sure our children are happy and healthy. We all take our children to the doctor for well checks and make sure they are growing properly. We take them to the dentist to make sure their teeth are clean and healthy. Why is it that so many of us forget to take our children to get their eyes examined? What is more important than our sight? Did you know that the American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam before age 1? Did you know that the doctors at all 4 Vision Clinic offices provide this service completely free of charge? Did you hear that, FREE!!! This is a program called InfantSEE. It is an amazing program that many people do not even know exists, I am going to change that today!!
The effect on babies eyes actually begins in the womb. Good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits by the mother help lead to proper development of the brain and eyes of the baby. Once a baby is born, the eyes take about 6-9 months to truly develop. The first few months are essential. That is when they are learning their surroundings, beginning to focus, starting to use the eyes together to develop depth perception, recognizing colors, all of the things that the eyes should be able to do. If they don’t develop properly, there is a critical period of time that you must correct those issues to keep the baby from having problems the rest of their life.
The best time to have your baby’s eyes examined is about 9-12 months of age. At this point their little eyes should be mostly developed. The optometrist will then be able to do all of the tests necessary to determine if there are any problems with your child. Some of these will be obvious and you would probably notice them. Things like eyes turning in or out and tear duct systems that are blocked are more easily detected by parents. There are many things that parents will not be able to see that can cause your child life long problems if not properly diagnosed. These are uncorrected prescription, amblyopia — high prescription in one eye but not the other, cataracts, retinal problems, along with many others. If found in time, we have the ability to save your baby from a life of poor vision.
The InfantSEE eye exam is an amazing way for us to help you help your child. Eighty percent of learning comes from vision, EIGHTY PERCENT!! So imagine the things that your child will miss out on learning if they cannot see. It amazes me that only 14% of children 6 and under have had an eye exam by an eye doctor. Yes, your pediatrician looks at their eyes, your school does a screening, but there is so much that can be missed and fixed if they only have a complete eye exam. We need to do whatever we can to help our children learn. InfantSEE is one of those things, it will make sure your child is starting off on the right foot. Did I happen to mention it is completely FREE!!!
There is an InfantSEE provider finder at aoa.org. Go there and find a provider near you. We’ve got you covered if you are in the Springfield, Nixa, and Ozark areas. Call us and let’s make sure we are doing whatever we can to protect that precious baby of yours.
Mitzi Lewis, O.D.