VISION is one of your baby’s most precious senses. As your child grows, much of what he or she will learn will depend on vision. Because of this, we feel it is of utmost importance to initiate a child’s vision program at the very early age of 6 months.
THE MOST CRITICAL TIME in the development of the visual system is between the ages of one-and-a-half and three years. It is usually much easier to correct many unusual visual patterns before this critical time rather than waiting until later in life. If an unusual visual situation is left uncorrected, the Binocular (two-eyes) vision cells of the brain are not stimulated correctly and do not function to their full potential. For more information on vision development of children, view Development.
INFANTS AND CHILDREN CANNOT TELL you that they really have a visual problem because they have no source of comparison. They may, understandably, think double or blurred vision is normal.
THE PL 20/20 INFANT VISION TESTER now makes it possible for us to test and evaluate the sight of very young children. We are one of the few offices in Colorado with this instrument, which we have carefully researched and are now using in addition to our other techniques. The Infant Vision Tester uses the principle of “preferential looking,” or “silent speech,” for testing your baby. The test reveals what an infant can or cannot see; it provides comparison with average vision levels of infants and children within the same age group; and it allows for early detection of vision problems.
SCORING is based on observation of the child’s visual response to stimulus targets; and visual acuity or “sharpness” is expressed in standard Snellen measurement as used with older children and adults. i.e. 20/20, 20/40, etc. Until the Infant Vision Tester was developed, there was no clinical method of measuring the actual sight of infants.
WHAT CAN WE EVALUATE? All the functions that we can with an adult. Dr. Baron can determine eye development and eye health (check for glaucoma, cataracts, congenital or acquired diseases); make sure the muscles and nerves are all present and functioning; that the eyes are working together as a team, that there is no amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (eye turning). We can check for farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism; and we can evaluate and follow the development of the eyes and their acuity. We do all of these tests by objective procedures, which do not require patient resources.
WHEN? In general, all children should be checked at six months of age t determine if all the visual equipment normally given to aninfant is there and working properly. Dr. Baron stresses that congenital defects may not be detected without a very thorough visual examination.
HIGH RISK INFANTS should be checked at the earliest time of concern. This category includes those who arepremature; who have slow general development; who have parents or siblings with unusual visual problems (such as high nearsightedness, unequal prescriptions, amblyopia, or eye turns); those with possible genetically transmitted problems; those with difficult early infancy; and those who have unusual visual habits or who fail to respond to visual stimulus.
ALTHOUGH VISUAL PROBLEMS can be treated at a later age, the eye or eyes will never reach the same potential as if corrected earlier in life – nor will the conditions be corrected with such ease.
AS VISION CARE PRACTITIONERS, we are most interested in your child’s total visual development. By having your infant tested early in his life, a record of his functioning visual system is established and can then be used for reference for future examinations.