Children are not born with all of the visual abilities that they’ll need in life. In fact, kids’ eyes need to develop properly in order to focus their eyes, move them accurately, send visual information to the brain and use both eyes together as a team. Strong eyes and good vision play a vital role in kids’ eye health as well as childhood eye development. That’s why it’s important to protect your child’s vision from birth.
The Stages Of Kids’ Eye Development
When it comes to the eyes, did you know that a majority of their physical development occurs during your child’s first year of life? Eye development then continues throughout childhood: vision skills are honed, eye muscles strengthen and nerve connections multiply. And all the while, your child’s eyes are becoming even stronger, and they’re learning to work together more effectively.
Birth To Baby
During this stage of eye development, your child’s eyes are extremely sensitive to bold colors as well as black and white patterns. Over the first three months of a baby’s life, color vision tends to improve greatly and the ability to focus begins to develop.
6 Months To 4 Years Of Age
After the first six months of a baby’s life, their eyes should be fully developed. During this stage, babies can start to judge depth and see 3D shapes and figures. In rare cases, glasses may be needed.
4 Years of Age and Up
During the ages of four and five, your child’s school should conduct a vision screening. If this has not happened by the end of your child’s first school year and you have lingering concerns, it’s best to take them to an optometrist.
When your child goes through a major growth spurt, their eyes will continue to grow and develop. Make sure to monitor your child’s vision regularly. If they complain of headaches or tired eyes after school, there may be an issue.
Potential Eye Problems In Kids
Children should be given a comprehensive eye exam by age one, seen again by age three and given yearly exams after age five. In these exams, optometrists will be looking for three common eye problems in kids.
1. A Lazy Or Misaligned Eye
A misaligned eye is when one eye is turned in, out, up or down, thus putting it out of alignment. If the eye is chronically misaligned, a lazy eye can develop. This condition is caused by the significantly reduced vision in one eye. While it would seem that these conditions would be visibly apparent, they often can go unnoticed outside of an eye exam.
A misaligned or lazy eye can be corrected if diagnosed in the preschool years. Glasses or a temporary eye patch will most likely be prescribed.
2. Refractive Errors
Refractive errors are more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. As your child ages, their eyes will too. Prescriptions may be needed if any of the following are detected by an optometrist:
- Nearsightedness is a difficulty in seeing far distances.
- Farsightedness is a difficulty in seeing up close.
- Astigmatism is a distorted vision due to a curvature of the eye.
3. Red Or Dry Eyes
Red eyes can sometimes signal pink eye or conjunctivitis. This is caused by allergies or a bacterial or viral infection. Extremely contagious, pink eye can be treated with antibiotic drops. To stop the spreading of pink eye, kids should wash their hands frequently and keep their hands away from their eyes.
Red, itchy or dry eyes can also signal CVS, more commonly known as computer vision syndrome. The culprit for children (as well as for adults) is often too much screen time on video games, smartphones and/or TVs.
How CVS Impacts Children
Symptoms of CVS tend to be pretty similar among children and adults. Common symptoms include eye strain, headaches, discomfort and posture problems. But CVS appears to affect children in an additional, unique way. Research has found that CVS in children can put them at a greater risk for nearsightedness (myopia).
The National Eye Institute conducted a study in 2009 which found that the prevalence of nearsightedness among Americans has increased more than 66 percent over the last 30 years. While this study did not look at the actual causes of the rise in myopia, the significant increase in the condition seems to parallel the rise in computer and smartphone usage worldwide.
The high-energy blue light that is emitted from computer screens and other digital devices may contribute to these symptoms of CVS. To combat the effects of CVS and implement proper kids’ eye care, there are a few things you can do:
- Restrict screen time for your child and enforce the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise helps to relax and lubricate the eyes while restoring normal blinking patterns.
- Use over-the-counter eye drops to provide relief. Consult your eye doctor about which type is right for you.
- Consider utilizing computer glasses for kids. These blue light blocking glasses have been shown to reduce dry eyes, eye strain and the risk of eye disease.
Shop Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses From Dr. S Eyewear
Finding the perfect pair of blue light blocking glasses for your kids can be difficult. But Dr. S Eyewear’s computer glasses for kids make the decision incredibly easy. Our blue blocker glasses block 99 percent of harmful blue light, more than any other brand on the market. Improve your child’s eye development today with a pair of blue light glasses from Dr. S Eyewear. Have a question or need more information? Reach out today.