It is important to know that a vision screening by a child’s pediatrician or at his or her preschool is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems.
At birth, babies’ vision is abuzz with all kinds of visual stimulation. While they may look intently at a highly contrasted target, babies have not yet developed the ability to easily tell the difference between two targets or move their eyes between the two images. Their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to parent’s face.
From ages 2 to 5, a child will be fine-tuning the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones. Stacking building blocks, rolling a ball back and forth, coloring, drawing, cutting, or assembling lock-together toys all help improve important visual skills.This is also the time when parents need to be alert for the presence of vision problems like crossed eyes or lazy eye. These conditions often develop at this age. Crossed eyes or strabismus involves one or both eyes turning inward or outward. Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is a lack of clear vision in one eye, which can’t be fully corrected with eyeglasses. Lazy eye often develops as a result of crossed eyes, but may occur without noticeable signs.
Be sure to tell your optometrist if your child frequently:
- Loses their place while reading
- Avoids close work; Holds reading material closer than normal
- Tends to rub their eyes; Has headaches
- Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
- Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
- Uses finger to maintain place when reading
- Omits or confuses small words when reading
- Consistently performs below potential
Referenced from the American Optometric Association