A Parent's Guide to Pediatric Optometry: Understanding Your Child's Eye Health

A Parent's Guide to Pediatric Optometry: Understanding Your Child's Eye Health

A Parent's Guide to Pediatric Optometry: Understanding Your Child's Eye Health

Your eyes go through continuous growth and development from birth until you are 18. Most visual issues tend to emerge during the first six to eight years of this period. At about the same time, you learn around 70% of everything through observation. 


These considerations emphasize the importance of professional eye care for children. Proper eyesight is crucial for children's social and academic lives. Good vision enables them to play with their peers and recognize their friends.


In contrast, poor vision can hinder their ability to participate in various activities. They will have difficulty playing sports or reading the board in class. All these are why children must receive regular eye exams from a pediatric eye doctor to ensure their optimal vision health.



Children's Eye Health



Newborns: Zero to Two Months



The visual system of a child just born is quite underdeveloped, barely enough to let the baby see at short distances. The child can only focus on things close to their faces until around six weeks old. At this time, they can follow things—like a face or colorful toy—through the air for short periods.


Newborns usually also develop chronic discharge in their eyes, mostly yellowish and sticky. Sometimes, the discharge can build up overnight to the point that the child cannot open their eyes in the morning. When this happens, you can use a clean, warm cloth to wipe the discharge away.



Two to 24 Months



When a child is a few months old, they should easily be able to do the following:


  • Track moving objects like balls as they move through the air.
  • Maintain eye contact with their guardians or caregivers.
  • When at least four months old, their eyes should have taken to natural positions more often. If you notice that their eyes are crossed or misaligned, it could be a sign that they have amblyopia or strabismus. They should have their first visit with the pediatric eye doctor at six months old. The doctor will run a comprehensive eye exam to test their muscle coordination and eyesight.



Two to Five Years Old



When a child gets to this age—toddler age—they usually have developed critical visual abilities, especially in hand-eye coordination. They should have the visual skills to build blocks, color, or draw. These skills are crucial for their future in school, like helping them learn to read and write.

At this age, issues like amblyopia and strabismus become evident. Intervention for the conditions is crucial as most can be corrected and even reversed.



School-going Kids Six to 12 Years



At this age, your child should have developed several significant visual skills, and many of them will be put to the test. They will constantly use their visual system to read and play with friends. 



Necessary Visual Skills at Joining School



They should have the skills to:


  • See things in the distance and up close and switch focus easily.
  • Identify and recognize images and letters on pages and read, write, and remember what they learn.
  • Use both their eyes to judge speed, depth, and distance.
  • Maintain hand-eye coordination when playing or writing.


For more on a parent's guide to pediatric optometry, visit Eye Carumba Optometry at our office in San Francisco, California. Call (415) 360-6900​​​​​​​ to book an appointment today.

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