Early Childhood Professionals
Get the Tools You Need
Educational materials for schools, parents and child care providers are available at no cost. Just click the link below and fill out a simple order form. If you’re interested in a presentation by a participating optometrist, contact the Eye Care Council at 1-800-960-EYES or email email@example.com.
Spot the Warning Signs
Although some conditions have no symptoms, watch for these early indicators of potential vision problems. Speak up if you see a child displaying these behaviors – more than 80 percent of a child’s ability to learn relies on visual processing.
Frequent rubbing or blinking of the eyes
Short attention span or daydreaming
Poor reading skills
Avoiding close-up work
A drop in scholastic or sports performance
Covering one eye
Tilting the head when reading
Squinting one or both eyes
Placing head close to book or desk when reading or writing
Difficulty remembering, identifying and reproducing basic geometric forms
Poor hand-eye coordination
Educate yourself on children’s vision issues
What is the difference between an eye exam and a vision assessment? Isn’t the school’s vision testing enough?
If a child has had a vision screening from a pediatrician or at preschool, you may be wondering why additional testing is needed. It is important not to confuse a simple vision screening with an optometrist-performed vision assessment.
Vision screenings are not designed to diagnose eye or vision problems. They are designed as a tool to identify children who may need further testing — and some studies estimate that they miss as many as 60 percent of those cases.
What is hyperopia (farsightedness)?
People who are farsighted see distant objects more clearly than those up close. Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too short or the cornea lacks adequate curvature.
For many children with hyperopia, their eyes are able to compensate and no treatment is needed. In more severe cases, corrective lenses may be recommended.
Common signs of hyperopia:
Fatigue and/or headaches after working with objects up close
Aching or burning eyes
Anxiety after sustained concentration
What is myopia (nearsightedness)?
Myopia is a vision condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than those farther away, a result of eye structure being too long or the cornea too curved. Nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population has myopia, which usually manifests in school-age children. Myopia can be inherited, but can also develop after repeated periods of visual stress.
Most children with nearsightedness are prescribed eyeglasses. Older children and teens may be candidates for contact lenses, and adults can explore corrective refractory surgery.
Common signs of myopia:
Persistent squinting at faraway objects
Excessive blinking and eye rubbing
Headaches after periods of focusing
Requests to sit closer to blackboards at school or TV screens at home
Unawareness of distant surroundings
What is amblyopia (lazy eye)?
Amblyopia refers to a lack of central vision in one eye that is not caused by other eye health issues. It usually appears before age six, and often occurs in those who have a large difference between the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes.
Symptoms in children can be heavily favoring one eye or frequently bumping into things on one side of their field of vision. Treatment usually includes a combination of corrective and prism lenses, vision therapy or patching the dominant eye.
Lazy eye, which can cause permanent vision loss, will not correct itself with time. Early intervention drastically increases the chance for complete recovery.
What is strabismus (crossed eyes)?
Strabismus occurs when a patient’s eyes do not look at the same place at the same time, resulting in different images being sent to the brain. It usually appears in children before the age of three, but can also develop in older kids or adults.
Early diagnosis is vital to helping children with this condition. Around five percent of children have strabismus, which can result in permanent vision loss if left undetected. Treatment can include eyeglasses, prism lenses, vision therapy or surgery to adjust the muscles around the eye.