Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life. These barriers can occur academically, socially and athletically. Comprehensive vision and eye health evaluations at an early age can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential.
Vision doesn’t just happen. In fact, a child’s brain learns how to use eyes to see just like it learns how to use legs to walk or a mouth to form words. The longer a vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more a child’s brain learns to accommodate the vision problem.
Eighty percent of all learning is performed through vision which is why a comprehensive eye examination is so important for young children. Early detection and treatment provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems so your child can learnv ision skills to see clearly. Taking this step will make sure your child has the best possible tools to learn successfully.
During the infant and toddler years, your child develops many vision skills and begins to learn how to see. In the preschool years, this process continues as your child develops visually guided eyehand-body coordination, fine motor skills and the visual motor skills necessary to learn to read.
As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem, including a short attention span for the child’s age; difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination in ball play and bike riding; avoidance of coloring, puzzles, digital devices and other detailed activities performed at near reading distance.
There are everyday things that you can do at home to help your preschooler’s vision develop as it should. These activities include reading aloud to your child and letting him or her see what you are reading; providing a chalkboard, finger paints and different shaped blocks and showing your child how to use them in imaginative play. Introduce digital devices however; limit screen time to allow for previously mentioned activities. In addition, providing opportunities to use playground equipment like a jungle gym and balance beam and allowing time for interacting with other children and for playing independently are all very important.
By age 3, your child should have a comprehensive eye health and vision exam to make sure their vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct vision development problems.
Here are tips to make your child’s optometric examination a positive experience:
1. Make an appointment early in the day. Allow about one hour.
2. Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child’s questions.
3. Explain the examination in your child’s terms, comparing the E chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights or a kaleidoscope.
At Cockrell Eyecare we participate in a program designed to seek out vision problems in Pre-K children specifically, three year olds. The program is called SEE TO LEARN. The goal is to detect vision conditions or eye health issues that require attention at an early age. Studies indicate that more than 20 percent of kindergarten children have vision problems, and this number climbs to 40percent by the time these children reach high school graduation. Many eye conditions require care before the age of five to avoid a permanent compromise in vision.
The SEE TO LEARN program provides free vision analysis to three year olds. We invite you to contact our offices in Stillwater@405-372-1715 or Pawnee @ 918-762-2573 for more information about this program. We also invite you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye CareCenter!