When it comes to pediatric eye care, it’s best to start making routine eye exams a priority sooner rather later.
“Between ages 3-4 is ideal because at that age they’re still young enough that if we catch something it’s quite treatable,” says Charles Ho, MD, of Marietta Eye Clinic. He stresses that routine eye exams are critical for children, because the reliance solely on symptoms to determine when to see an eye care specialist can lead to common eye problems going overlooked.
In newborns Dr. Ho says he often sees nasolacrimal duct obstruction, which prevents tears from draining. For older children, poor development of one eye, amblyopia, can be a common issue. Amblyopia can cause farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and/or a difference in the power of the eyes, called anisometropia. Due to the fact that amblyopia is caused by a deeper level of lack of visual development, it is not correctable with glasses or contacts. For most other common pediatric eye conditions treatment options can include eye patches, glasses, prisms within glasses and sometimes eye muscle surgery as a last resort.
When the time comes to select an eye care provider for children Dr. Ho and his pediatric optometry team member Katerin Ortiz, OD, both suggest looking for an ophthalmologist certified by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology Society (AAPOS) or an optometrist who has completed a pediatric residency.