When should those little peepers be examined? The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that they should first be checked as a newborn for general eye health, with special care given to preemies and babies with medical problems. After that, routine visits should occur at six months (to check for vision development) and three years (to look for abnormalities). Starting at age five, schedule yearly eye exams with the doc. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care will help you stay on top of your child’s complete check-up schedule.
But it’s also important for you to know what to look out for in between appointments. “Parents are the best observers of their own children,” says Dr. Robert Gross, president of The Children’s Eye Foundation. “If they suspect something may be wrong with their child, they should consult their physician, because they’re often right!” So ask yourself the following questions:
• Does my child hold objects close to his face when trying to focus?
• Does he squint often?
• Do his eyes appear to drift to one side?
• Is he sensitive to light?
• Does he complain of eye pain or headaches?
• Are there any white or dark spots on his corneas?
• Does my family have a history of eye disorders?
Share any concerns you’ve noticed with your child’s doctor. “Failure to diagnose conditions affecting the vision in young children may lead to the need for more treatment and even surgery,” Dr. Gross says. Vision problems can also impact how well the child does in school, her emotional well-being and overall productivity, he adds.
Does the kid need glasses, but is dead-set against wearing them? Try the following tips to get her to wear them with pride!
• Explain why she needs to wear them in the first place. Point out that she’ll be able to see her favorite TV shows and read books without straining her eyes.
• Be sure to buy a comfy pair that fits her properly so they’re more likely to stay where they belong—on her face.
• Have her pick out her own set of cute frames so she’ll be excited to show them off, then compliment her every time she wears them.
• Point out family members, celebs and favorite characters that wear glasses.
• Own a pair yourself? Then wear yours when you should and show her that it’s totally cool to wear glasses!