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Children’s Eye Care

Pediatric Eye Exams

It is very important to take your children for eye exams on a regular basis. Pediatric eye care incorporates special techniques and technology to ensure accurate testing and help us accommodate young children.

Preschool child needs his eyesight tested

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected. This is especially true for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight. To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly. Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.

Eye Exams in Infants: Birth – 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They have to learn to focus and move their eyes, and use them together as a team. The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. The foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination also comes with the development of eyesight.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye examination at 6 months. At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track, and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus (misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism).

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, your eye doctor may require more frequent visits to keep watch on his or her progress.

Eye Check-Up in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is a period when children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills. During this time they will develop the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting or building. This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) – when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) – when one or both eyes turn inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays having to do with object, number or letter recognition, color recognition or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual. If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

Eye Exams in School-Aged Kids: Ages 6-18

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally. If your child is having trouble in school or after school activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration, and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Headaches
  • Frequent blinking
  • Avoiding reading
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Losing their place often while reading
  • Double vision
  • Poor reading comprehension

The Eye Exam

In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision, or refractive errors) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Color Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as a premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

Children’s Eyeglasses, Contacts & Other Treatments

If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty. Since some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

To Our Valued Patients:

As an essential business, Kennedy Vision Health Center remains committed to patient and employee safety as we navigate through the current healthcare crisis. We are going to see patients again beginning May 4th.  We care deeply about patient health and have implemented several infection prevention measures to ensure the highest level of safety when you visit our clinic.  Following guidance from  the MN Dept. of Labor, MN Dept. of Health, CDC, and the American Optometric Association we are keeping a very controlled and safe environment for our patients and employees.

For patients being seen in our clinic, the CDC is now recommending that all staff, patients and visitors cover their faces in health care facilities. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are requiring patients to bring and wear a face covering (such as protective mask or cloth covering) to any upcoming appointments.

Masks or cloth coverings must be worn over your mouth and nose for the duration of your appointment. Members of your care team will also wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you do not have access to a face covering, the CDC website has guidelines for making no-sew, cloth face coverings. You can also use a scarf or bandana. Additionally, masks can be purchased from many local and online retailers.

We are requiring an appointment to enter the office.  Appointments will be made for eye exams, glasses, and contact lens pickups.  If you do not have an appointment please call before entering so we can make sure we do not have too many people in the office.  Once entering please use the hand sanitizer that is provided in the foyer and wait to approach the front desk until the receptionist is ready.  All people entering the building must have their temperature checked.  If your temperature is above 100.4, it will be rechecked by a different device, and if still high you will need to reschedule.

We continue to ask that you do not bring any unnecessary people with you to your appointment, with the exception of a guardian with a child or assistance with mobility.  Also, please follow the 6 feet social distancing guidelines as much as possible throughout the office.

Rest assured that every surface you come into contact with has been sanitized prior to the arrival of each and every patient entering our practice, and it will be cleaned again as you exit each area. The team will be frequently washing their hands between interactions as per our usual protocol, and you’ll also see hand sanitizer throughout the practice for your use, as well.

If you’re  wanting to purchase glasses, there is a similar protocol in place to ensure a safe interaction with cleaning of frames and minimal contact with our optical team. Please follow their direction if eyewear is needed.

Kennedy Vision Health Center is also offering telemedicine visits which can be completed from the comfort of your home. To schedule a telemedicine visit please contact our office at 763-545-8850 and one of our team members will be happy to schedule your visit.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us. On Monday May 4th we will begin regular office hours at both locations.

We appreciate your efforts to help protect yourself, our care teams and our entire community.