Keep an Eye on Your Child's Vision
When it comes to vision, you are your child's first line of defense. You notice something,
watch it for a while, and call your healthcare or eye care provider (ophthalmologist
or optometrist) to find out if what you're seeing is a problem.
That's how it should be, experts say. But many of America's kids do not even have
a healthcare provider.
About 20% of children have some type of visual problem. They can be far-sighted or
near-sighted. They can have astigmatism. This is a condition in which an irregularly
shaped cornea (the eye's clear "front window") causes blurred images. They can have
other problems, like crossed eyes, lazy eye, and even cataracts, or glaucoma.
It's best to catch vision problems while a child is very young. Later, problems are
harder to correct. Vision problems are often mistaken for learning disabilities once
kids start school. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and The American Optometric
Association recommend that an ophthalmologist or optometrist examine all infants by
6 months of age.
At first, infants' eyes are all over the place. They move around a lot, just like
infants' arms and legs. At about 3 months, infants should be able to follow you with
their eyes in a room. At 6 months, most babies have fairly normal vision. They have
vision of about 20/40, which would pass the drivers' test.
Healthcare providers suggest that you look to see whether your baby's eyes move together.
And when you view photos of your baby, look for a red glow in the eyes. White or black
is not normal, but don't go by 1 photograph. It’s a problem only if it's in all photos
of your baby.