Have you noticed strange changes in your child’s behavior? Do they seem distant and emotionally reserved? Often times children struggle alone. Without the learned communication capacity to speak up about what’s bothering them, sometimes it’s your job to ask the right questions. If you’ve noticed frequent squinting, tilting of the head, rubbing of the eyes, or the avoidance of coloring activities, puzzles, or television watching your child may have a vision problem. Vision problems can be extremely devastating for tiny minds. They’ll wonder why they can’t participate as effectively in coordination emphasized activities. They’ll feel sad when their friends can color-in-the-lines and they can’t. Not measuring up to the capabilities of your peers can put some serious emotional strain on your child. They may become distant. They may seem emotionally guarded. You will probably need to ask their teacher if he/she has noticed signs of visual impairment. Stop their struggling now with a vision test. For our first blog post, we’ll walk you through how to prepare your child for a vision test, how our staff of optometrists, orthoptists, and opticians will work to keep your child engaged, and the common conditions we offer treatment for.
The Preparation Stage
If your child has never been to an eye doctor the complicated machinery and participation-based eye evaluation can be a bit overwhelming. Easing them into it can be extremely important to avoiding a fit of terror when a person decked out in a lab coat and rubber gloves walks in. It may help to tell a story. Make it into a fairy tale! Tell them about a hero/heroine who was having trouble shooting arrows. They tried and tried but couldn’t seem to get them to stick in the center of the bullseye. Luckily, their best friend told them about a magical place where fancy people in long white jackets will turn them into the best archers in all the land. Visually guide them through an eye exam with imaginary characters who represent the unfamiliar people they’ll meet that day. Be sure to add a grandiose ending about how the archer became the best arrow shooter there ever was and blissfully embarked on their first adventure as a real hero. It will get your child excited to see a place filled with optometrists, orthoptists, and opticians running around in lab coats. They’ll attach a positive association to them because of your story. They’ll understand that the doctors are there to help.
The Comprehensive Vision Test
Standard Eye Chart
Visual acuity tests will test the sharpness of your child’s vision. The way in which we do this is with the ol’ eye chart. A projected eye chart is posted in our office. Your child will sit on a chair a distance away from it, cover one eye, and be asked to identify a number of different-sized characters. This helps us gauge your child’s farsightedness. A hand-held eye chart is used in the same way to identify nearsightedness.
Ocular mobility testing is performed to determine how well your child’s eyes follow a moving object or accurately fixate on two moving objects. Testing of smooth eye movements is more common. This involves shining a light in your child’s eyes and having them slowly follow it. Problems with eye movement may cause eye strain which affects readability.
Dilating drops will be instilled into your child’s eyes. In order to test pupil dilation, the pupils must be enlarged first. This will make abnormal constrictions more noticeable. Once they are fully dilated, the optometrist will use various instruments to look in your child’s eyes. This test is conducted in order to assess the health of internal eye structures. Dilating the pupil creates a bigger field of vision in order to get an accurate rendering of internal eye wellness.
The most commonly used test for color blindness is the Ishihara Color Vision Test. A booklet of circular patterns comprised of many dots with varying shapes, sizes, and colors. They are arranged in a way that a person with color rendering capabilities will see a different colored number within the array of dots. A color blind person will be unable to make out the difference between colored patterns and thus won’t see the number.
Your Child Will Love Our Optometrists
Pediatric eyecare of Maryland is great with kids! We will go above and beyond to guarantee your child’s comfortability in our offices. Going to the eye doctor should be a fun explorative, exciting adventure for your child. We incorporate toys, games, and videos into our exams. Using colored lights and 3-D pictures, your child’s first eye exam will be interactive and filled with exhilarating visual stimuli. With extensive experience working with children, our staff understands how to keep your child far from fear and engaged. We offer comprehensive eye examinations for infants, children, and adolescents (and often adults as well). With offices in Baltimore, Clarksburg, Eldersburg, and Westminster as well as flexible hours that include evenings and weekends. We make eye exams convenient and comfortable for children of all ages.
We Treat and Evaluate Common Vision Conditions
This is a condition in which the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because of a breakdown in neurological signaling between the brain and eye. The eye itself may look normal and unharmed, but will not be working properly because neurons favor the other eye. Commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” Amblyopia can be treated by our staff.
Better known as ‘cross-eyed’ or ‘wall-eyed,’ this condition in which a patient cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. One or both eyes may turn directionally in, up or out when trying to fix themselves on a singular object. Unfortunately, Strabismus does not go away on its own and treatment is necessary.
Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. In terms of the eyes, it refers to the bending of light as it passes through the cornea and to the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The length of the eyeball or changing of the cornea shape can cause refractive eye errors in children. Luckily, these can be treated with eye glasses, contacts lenses, or refractive surgery.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
A very serious eye disease that occurs in premature babies, Retinopathy of Prematurity causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina. If the growth is not postponed, these vessels can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye causing blindness. At Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland, we evaluate premature babies who make be at risk for the conditions. Make an appointment today if you feel your infant may be at risk.
A dermoid cyst is an overgrowth of tissue in an abnormal location (in this case the eyes). There are two main dermoid cysts that occur around the eyes. Orbital dermoid cysts is found in association with the bones of the eye socket. An epibulbar dermoid cyst is found on the surface of the eye in conjunction with the cornea and sclera.They can also be found on the temporal corner of the eyelids. Our optometrists specialize in the removal of problems involving the structures around the eye as well.
Tear Duct Obstructions
Tear duct obstructions cause tears to drain from the eyes improperly. The duct may fill with fluid and become swollen, inflamed, or infected. If this happens further tear duct functionality complications may occur. Treatment often involves oral antibiotics.
A chalazion is a benign painless bump inside of the upper or lower eyelid. Healed internal styes that are no longer infectious often turn into Chalazions. They often form around the eye’s oil glands which cause eyes to become swollen, runny, and itching.
Very rare in children, but still a real possibility and concern, cataracts are any cloudiness or opacity of the eye’s lens. Normal clear, a lens with cataracts, if large enough, can cause serious vision loss. Cataract removal requires eye surgery. A tiny incision is made in the lens capsule and the very soft, cloudy cataract is suctioned out. Though a serious vision concern, cataracts can be taken care of easily.
Eye injuries and Infections
Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland will treat eye injuries and minor infections as well. Whether you child punctured their eye while playing outside, or has a simple case of ‘pinkeye,’ our trusted team of optometrists ensure the best care for whatever visual ailment you need help treating.